Updated: August 26, 2021 9:53:24 pm
At the all-party meeting on the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan, the government on Thursday stated that evacuating Indian personnel from the country is its “top priority” as the situation remains “critical” since the Taliban takeover.
Following the meet, which was attended by 37 leaders from 31 parties, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted that he had briefed the floor leaders of all political parties regarding the situation in Afghanistan.
“There is longstanding national sentiment on Afghanistan. Therefore, there is national concern now at developments,” Jaishankar said.
“All parties have similar views, we approached the issue with a spirit of national unity,” the minister said following the meeting.
Regarding evacuations, Jaishankar elaborated, “We have under operation Devi Shakti made six flights for evacuation of Indians, one of which took off this morning. We have brought back most Indians, but not all of them. There are still a few out there… We have also brought out some Afghan citizens, who wanted to come to India. We have tried addressing other issues by instituting an e-visa policy.”
#WATCH “Govt strongly committed to ensuring full evacuation as soon as possible, doing everything to bring back our people from Afghanistan,” says EAM Dr S Jaishankar after briefing all-party panel on the Afghanistan situation pic.twitter.com/GWkMZJUMOz
— ANI (@ANI) August 26, 2021
News agency PTI reported that a document shared in the meeting shows that the Indian government has evacuated 175 Embassy personnel, 263 other Indian nationals, 112 Afghan nationals including Hindus and Sikhs, and 15 third country nationals. The total figure stood at 565.
The minister also stated, “Our strong friendship with the people of Afghanistan is reflected in the more than 500 projects we have there. This friendship will continue to guide us. India’s footprint and activities naturally keep in mind the ongoing changes.”
However, he stressed that “Our immediate concern and task is evacuation and long term interest is the friendship for the Afghan people.”
We have undertaken evacuation operations in extremely difficult conditions especially at the airport.
Our immediate concern and task is evacuation and long term interest is the friendship for the Afghan people.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) August 26, 2021
During the meet, the government noted that the Taliban has broken the promises made in the February 2020 Doha agreement with the US, which “envisaged religious freedom and democracy, with a government in Kabul that represented all sections of Afghan society.”
Union minister and Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi were also present at the meeting.
From the Opposition, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, DMK’s T R Baalu, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, and Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel were also in attendance.
Post the meeting, Kharge stated that the situation was the “entire country’s problem” and “all parties have taken the same view.”
“We raised the issue of a female (Afghan) diplomat who was deported. They said that they made a mistake, it won’t be repeated and they will look into the matter,” the Congress leader was quoted as saying by ANI.
#WATCH | “We raised the issue of a female (Afghan) diplomat who was deported. They said that they made a mistake, it won’t be repeated & they will look into the matter,” says Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge after the all-party briefing by EAM Jaishankar on Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/5rXQHYCVhD
— ANI (@ANI) August 26, 2021
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