Approaching Afghan situation in spirit of national unity: Jaishankar after all party meet

New DelhiWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: Aug 26, 2021, 07:28 PM IST

India's Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar (file photo). Photograph:(AFP)

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As per data, the government has evacuated 175 embassy personnel and 263 other Indian nationals from Afghanistan.

The Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has said that India will approach the situation in Afghanistan in the spirit of national unity after the all-party meeting. The all-party meet on Afghanistan lasted for a three-and-half hours and 37 leaders of 31 parties were present. During the meet, EAM took questions from MPs and a presentation was given on the priorities and the challenges.

"On this matter we all have similar view and we have a strong national position on Afghanistan", EAM said, adding we approach the situation "very much in spirit of national unity".

India has been evacuating its nationals and number of Afghans from the country. So far, India has evacuated 565 people, of which 175 are embassy personnel, 263 are other Indian nationals, 112 are Afghan nationals including Hindus and Sikhs, 15 are nationals of other countries. Under 'Operation Devi Shakti', India has flown 6 flights, the latest of which was on Thursday morning.

EAM said that India had "brought back most of the Indians, there are still few out there, some of them could not make it to the flight yesterday, but we will bring out everybody".

For repatriation, India on 16th August formed the Afghan special cell. So far it has handled 3,014 Calls, 7,826 Whatsapp Messages and 3,101 emails. The cell is manned by more than 20 MEA officials.

Sources said that during all-party meet, EAM listed pre-emptive measures like temporary withdrawal of India-based personnel from Indian consulates in Herat and Jalalabad (April 2020), scale-down of Indian embassy in Kabul (June 2021), evacuation from Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif, and security advisories.

He highlighted that "govt is very very strongly committed to ensuring the full evacuation as soon as possible, in terms of any international decisions that are made, our diplomacy, our role, interest is recognised. we are in touch with our partners"

In the meet, EAM pointed out to challenges during evacuation, which included- frequent firing incidents near airport and inside Kabul, multiple checkpoints by various groups, landing permissions delays, overflight clearances from relevant countries.