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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Flight from Kabul lands in Delhi: ‘No one expected this turnaround’

Some members of the Afghan government arriving in Delhi said they rushed to India to assess the situation and judge if it will be safe for them in their country under the Taliban.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: August 16, 2021 7:06:08 am
An Afghan national who took the Air India flight from Kabul, at the IGI Airport in Delhi on Sunday. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

A flight from Kabul arrived in Delhi late Sunday evening, bringing with it Indian nationals as well as members of the collapsed Afghan government.

The Air India flight left Kabul at 6.06 pm and landed in Delhi around 8 pm.

Shiv Kiran, a resident of Hyderabad who was in Kabul on a business trip, said it was life as usual in the city until the time he left.

“I had gone there on Monday as I had a few business commitments I had to fulfil. This flight was my pre-booked flight… While I was in Kabul, I was listening to the news and talking to my local business partners there. No one expected this turnaround. They thought that the President would fight back… It was regular, normal day life in Kabul, there was no sense of the conflict outside in the city till this morning… My family was worried though because they were following the news from here,” Kiran told The Indian Express.

Some members of the Afghan government arriving in Delhi said they rushed to India to assess the situation and judge if it will be safe for them in their country under the Taliban.

“People were very scared because we have seen the violence of the Taliban 20 years ago and that was very bad, but this time it does not seem so violent. I have come here to see what the situation is like for a week or 10 days, and then hopefully I can go back. I decided to leave today itself… My family members are still there, they could not get their visas done, but I could come because of my diplomatic visa,” said Rizwanullah Ahmadzai, who was senior advisor to the President.

Ahmadzai said that embassies were active as of Sunday, working on issuing visas but that these were likely to close down in the next few days.

Among the Afghan nationals to arrive in Delhi on Sunday night was MP from Paktia province Sayed Hassan Paktiawal, who claimed he had come to Delhi to attend some meetings.

“I didn’t want to leave the country but we have meetings here. Hopefully I can go back soon… Taliban are not like before so I hope everything will be all right but right now the situation is very bad, especially tonight. All of Afghanistan is now under Taliban, including Paktia, from where I have come,” he said.

Another MP Abdul Qadir Zazai also claimed that he had arrived as a matter of routine.

“I have not left because of the current situation. I have come here for a few days to meet my friends, do business… The future looks 50-50. As for the government, the senior positions will all cease to exist — the lower level of government employees will reportedly be there for 6 months under the interim government — but regarding our safety, as per their [Taliban] declaration, everyone will be safe,” he said.

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