Indians told to leave Afghanistan as crisis escalates

Amidst the ongoing fighting between Afghan security forces and the Taliban in several parts of Afghanistan, which has escalated over the past few weeks, the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan has now advised all Indians to return home immediately.

According to Indian government information, it has closed all its consulates, including Mazar-i-Sharif, the biggest city in the north, leaving only the Embassy in Kabul operational. India sent a military plane to northern Afghanistan this week to pull out its diplomats and Indian citizens.

The Embassy of India has advised all Indian nationals staying in Afghanistan to register themselves on its website immediately. Indian companies operating in Afghanistan are advised to immediately withdraw their Indian employees out of project sites in Afghanistan and facilitate their travel to India. Indian media personnel arriving and staying in Afghanistan are to establish contact with the Public Affairs and Security Wing of the Embassy for a personalised briefing on travel, safety and risk assessment. A number of Sikhs and Hindus based in Afghanistan, estimated around 750, also need to be evacuated for their protection from an attack by the Taliban.

In recent days, Islamist Taliban fighters have overrun six provincial capitals in the north, west, and south of Afghanistan as the fighting has intensified with the US looking to complete the drawdown by August 31.

US President Joe Biden said he does not regret the decision and, speaking to reporters at the White House, stressed the US was keeping the commitments it had made to Afghanistan, such as providing close air support, paying military salaries and supplying Afghan forces with food and equipment.

"They've got to fight for themselves," he said.

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