The Government of India will take all steps to ensure the safety and security of the Indian nationals and its interests in Afghanistan, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Monday, 16 August, a day after the Taliban takeover of the country.
Acknowledging that the security situation in Kabul has 'deteriorated significantly in the last few days', the MEA said they are awaiting the resumption of flights to restart the repatriation process.
What Else Did the MEA Say?
The government further pointed out that it was in touch with the Indian nationals in the country who wished to return.
"We are in constant touch with the representatives of Afghan, Sikh and Hindu communities. We will facilitate repatriation to India of those who wish to leave Afghanistan. There are also a number of Afghans who have been our partners in the promotion of our mutual development, educational and people to people endeavours. We will stand by them."Ministry of External Affairs
Further, the MEA stated that they have been issuing periodic advisories for the safety and security of Indian nationals in Afghanistan, 'including calling for their immediate return to India'.
"We had circulated emergency contact numbers and had also been extending assistance to community members," the MEA said.
'Gross Abdication of Duty': Congress
Earlier on Monday, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had criticised the government over its 'stunning silence' on the 'alarming' situation in Afghanistan, and questioned why the Narendra Modi government had failed to provide a clear evacuation plan.
"Modi government’s refusal to set in motion a well thought out plan to evacuate our citizens is a gross abdication of its duty and is totally unacceptable," Surjewala stated in his press conference.
Speaking to the media, he had said that backing India's interests, the Congress party "expects a mature political and diplomatic response from our Government over the complete collapse of government in Afghanistan and Taliban takeover."
Following this, he said that "Modi government needs to wake up from its slumber and protect Indian citizens in Afghanistan."
Saying that the government's silence gives rise to unfounded assumptions, he added, “The prime minister and External Affairs Minister need to clearly spell out our policy for safe return of our citizens, embassy personnel as also our future relationship. This silence gives rise to the apprehension that the government is hiding something from the country."
What Else Do We Know?
After two decades of war, the Taliban captured Afghanistan's capital Kabul in 10 days on Sunday, 15 August, as President Ashraf Ghani fled the war-torn country.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Ghani said, "The Taliban have won with the judgement of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen."
65 nations, including the United States of America, on Sunday also issued a joint statement urging those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to bear responsibility and accountability for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order.
Video footage of Taliban commanders and armed militants moving within the walls of the presidential palace was broadcast by Al Jazeera on Sunday evening. Meanwhile, hoards of people have been attempting to escape the impending Taliban rule, as is apparent from the visuals of panic, fear, disorder and chaos that emerge from the crowded airport of Kabul.