Air India's first commercial flight carrying 87 stranded Indians from Afghanistan landed in New Delhi on Sunday amid the Afghan crisis. The flight also successfully managed to evacuate two Afghanistan leaders- Afghan Senator Anarkali Honaryar and Afghan MP Narender Singh from the war-torn nation.
Thanking the Indian government, Indian Air Force and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Afghan MPs lauded India for standing by them during this time of crisis. The IAF had first flown the stranded citizens from Kabul to Tajikistan on Saturday afternoon. They were brought back to Delhi on an Air India flight at around 2 AM on Sunday. Around 23 Indian Sikhs are said to be a part of the evacuation operation.
After arriving in Delhi, Afghan Senator Anarkali Honaryar said, "Thank you very much Government of India, Modi ji, Indian Air Force for airlifting me from Kabul and saving my life."
Afghan MP Narender Singh said, "I want to thank the Indian government, Modi ji and Indian Airforce. During times of crisis, they helped us get out. They saved us from death and brought us here. They have always stood by us and I hope we can get more people out from Afghanistan."
In the visuals shared by the MEA on Twitter, the citizens who were evacuated were seen raising slogans of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' after landing. Two Nepalese nationals were also a part of the evacuation from Hamad International Airport, as per reports.
Jubilant evacuees on their journey home ! pic.twitter.com/3sfvSaEVK7— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) August 21, 2021
Amid the Taliban takeover, India has been expanding its efforts to evacuate citizens from the war-torn nation. On Saturday, news agency ANI reported that American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces permitted India to expand its evacuation measures in order to retreat its nationals. The security forces that are monitoring the evacuation procedures have allowed two Indian planes to take off and land at the Kabul airport, under American security protection. NATO forces guarding the Kabul airport are currently operating a total of 25 flights as they work on evacuating their citizens, weaponry, and equipment.
India's commercial flights such as Air India, Vistara and Indigo Airlines have been airlifting its citizens through Tajikistan's Dushanbe and Qatar's Doha. More than 300 Indian nationals have been evacuated from Kabul so far.