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The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan no longer exists, says envoy to Kabul on return 'home'

WebdeskAug 18, 2021, 09:33 AM IST

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan no longer exists, says envoy to Kabul on return 'home'

                                                                                                                                                                          Nirendra Dev


Taliban already announced that the new regime would be officially called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan - in effect, meaning 'restoration' of the old name when they ruled between 1995 and 2001. 


New Delhi: Obviously, the situation in war-devastated and Taliban-captured Afghanistan and adjoining region is 'fluid', and India on August 17 withdrew its ambassador and diplomatic staff from Kabul, flying out around 140 people in C-17 Globemaster heavy-lift aircraft.


Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon, on arrival to India, told reporters at Jamnagar airbase, “As you know, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan no longer exists and the situation is quite fluid now."


This was about the Taliban already announcing that the new regime would be officially called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan - in effect, meaning 'restoration' of the old name when they ruled between 1995 and 2001.


In Delhi, Tandon was specially summoned for a high-level meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


“Mr Modi chaired a Cabinet Committee meeting on Security with Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, NSA Ajit Doval, and foreign secretary Harsh V Shringla and ambassador Tandon.”


Dr Jaishankar, who is in New York, met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.


"Our discussions focused on Afghanistan, following upon the Security Council meeting yesterday," he tweeted.


On Monday (August 16) at the UNSC meeting, India sought to preempt Pakistani designs vis-à-vis its possible influence on the Taliban and said there ought to be "zero tolerance for terrorism", and terror groups should not use terror groups Afghanistan lands.


There should be "zero tolerance for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and it is ensured that the territory of Afghanistan is not used by terrorist groups to threaten or attack any other country.


Then Afghanistan's neighbours and the region would feel safer," India's Permanent Representative at the UN, TS Tirumurti said.


These remarks could upset certain quarters - who have been traditionally supportive of the Taliban and their frontline and violence-prone designs.


“In view of the prevailing situation in Kabul, it was decided that our embassy personnel would be immediately moved to India. This movement has been completed in two phases and the ambassador and all other India-based personnel have reached New Delhi [on Tuesday] afternoon,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.  ”



Tandon had taken up his assignment in Kabul only in August 2020.


An estimated 280-300 Indian nationals, including those working for foreign firms and from different professions, were believed to be still in Afghanistan.


Air India has temporarily suspended its flights to Kabul. Officials said that the MEA has opened a help desk to ensure that anyone stuck in Kabul is brought back.


Asked about the tentative number of Indian nationals who are still in Afghanistan, Tandon said it would be difficult to hazard a guess, as Indians often didn’t register themselves with the embassy in Kabul despite repeated advisories.


External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar swung into action on Monday, monitoring the Afghanistan situation and ensuring the safety and security of Indians, especially people belonging to Hindu and Sikh communities.


In a series of tweets, Dr Jaishankar informed that he has held tele talks with US counterpart Antony Blinken and discussed "the latest developments in Afghanistan".


He had underlined the urgency of restoring airport operations in Kabul and also tweeted to say that India "deeply appreciated" the American efforts underway in this regard.


In a tweet marking it to Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Dr Jaishankar wrote: "We are in constant touch with the Sikh and Hindu community leaders in Kabul. Their welfare will get our priority attention".


Embassy not closed 'technically'


Sources say the Indian embassy in Kabul was technically not shut down as it is still being manned by local Afghan staff. Similar arrangements have been made for the consulates in Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif, from where the Indian staff were pulled out.


The Home Ministry has reviewed visa provisions given the situation in Afghanistan and introduced a new category of electronic visas called “e-Emergency X-Misc Visa” to fast-track applications by Afghan nationals.



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