Air India took off from Kabul with 129 passengers on board and safely landed in Delhi over the weekend as the crisis in Afghanistan spiralled out of control with the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban.
The 160-seater Air India Airbus 320, commandeered by Captain Aditya Chopra, carried 40 Afghan passengers and landed in Kabul after circling the airspace for 90 mins. The flight AI244 took off at on August 15, Indian Independence Day, from the Kabul airport just as the Taliban approached the Afghan capital.
Expressing despair over the state of affairs in Afghanistan, a woman who boarded the flight told reporters in Delhi that the world has abandoned Afghanistan. "Our friends are going to get killed. Our women will have no rights," she added. The passengers also included diplomats and security officials posted in the Indian Embassy in Kabul.
The situation in Afghanistan has reached a crisis point and President Ashraf Ghani and National Security Adviser Hamdullah Muhib and head of President Fazel Mahmood Fazli fled Afghanistan for Tajikistan.
Images and videos across social media show a desperate rush of Afghans to the Kabul airport to catch a flight out of the country. Major airlines were rerouting their flights to avoid flying over Afghanistan.