Among the 168 people are two babies, including 107 Indian citizens and two Afghan senators, who were evacuated from Kabul on a special air force flight this morning.
The plane landed safely at Hindon Air Base in Ghaziabad near Delhi.
Footage shared by news agency ANI showed one of the babies in the mother’s arms, while a young girl (presumably the older sister) laughs happily and kisses the baby, who seems rather stunned by the many new sights and sounds.
— ANI (@ANI) August 22, 2021
The video also features a woman speaking about the emotional and physical stress of the past seven days – since the Taliban entered Kabul and took effective control of Afghanistan, sparking panic as locals and foreigners rushed to the airport. to flee the war-torn country.
Photos also showed the second baby in the mother’s arms, with the father by her side, as the young family waits to be processed and undergo an (mandatory) RT-PCR test.
An Afghan woman who was on the flight from the air force told ANI that the situation in her country is “deteriorating”, and that the Taliban have burned down her house.
“The situation in Afghanistan deteriorated, so I came here with my daughter and two grandchildren. Our Indian brothers and sisters came to our aid. They (the Taliban) set my house on fire. I thank India for helping us,” said the unnamed woman. .
A few hours before the Air Force flight landed, three others – operated by Air India, IndiGo and Vistara – landed with evacuees from Afghanistan in the national capital.
The flights brought back people who had been evacuated from Kabul earlier this week and flew first to Dushanbe in Tajikistan and Doha in Qatar, amid security concerns over flight paths from Afghanistan.
India has been authorized to operate two flights a day from Kabul to evacuate its citizens and those of other countries stranded in Afghanistan, ANI has said, citing government sources.
Some of the 168 people flown back by the air force today were among the 150 detained by the Taliban yesterday, during a chaotic few hours that began with local reports that Indians had been kidnapped.
Government sources later clarified that the group had been taken for routine questioning and checking of travel documents prior to their evacuation.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said this week that the government is monitoring the situation in Kabul and Afghanistan “very carefully”, but that the immediate focus is on evacuating all civilians safely.
Asked how India plans to deal with the Taliban leadership, he said it is “early days” and did not comment on whether the government is in contact with the group.
With input from ANI