On Tuesday, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury slammed the Union government for the purported delay in evacuating Indians stranded in Afghanistan. Addressing a press briefing at Coimbatore, he questioned the Centre on why it could not pre-empt the situation and rescue the people well in time. This comes even as India evacuated around 46 people on Monday and 120 individuals including Indian Embassy staff, their families and security personnel today via the Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft. On this occasion, Yechury also called upon the Centre to "deal" with the Taliban.
"This is something that we should have planned and done much earlier when it was evident what was happening. Many countries did that planning and they evacuated (people). But what were we doing? We also want that answer from the government of India. At least for two weeks, it was evident what was going to happen. What were our pre-emptive moves? There is a large number of Indians in Afghanistan," Yechury opined.
Citing the example of Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, China and other countries in Central Asia, the CPI(M) leader added, "You have to deal with the Taliban. So, they are all dealing. But where is the government of India? And we are the ones who actually gave Afghanistan the maximum aid for development."
A day earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken dialled External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar about the recent developments in Afghanistan. The EAM stated that he is continuously monitoring the situation in Kabul and urged everyone to provide accurate information about Indians stuck there at a dedicated phone number and mobile number of the MEA Afghanistan Cell. Moreover, Jaishankar asserted that he would raise concerns about the situation in Afghanistan during his engagements at the United Nations on August 18 and 19.
MEA official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi assured, "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 developmental, educational and people-to-people endeavours. We will stand by them."
As per sources, the aircraft carrying 46 personnel left Kabul yesterday only after the telephonic conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his US counterpart Jake Sullivan. Furthermore, the Gujarat government revealed in a press release that PM Modi is “personally looking after the evacuation of Indian nationals and officials stranded in Afghanistan”. This process is expected to gain pace as evacuation operations have recommenced at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.