Afghans, almost all of whom love India and despise Pakistan, expected much more from New Delhi and there is a growing sense of desolation in Kabul. on Tuesday.
Kanika Gupta, who was on the same flight that returned the Indian ambassador and other embassy personnel after a complex evacuation process, told how she witnessed a “sea change” in Kabul over the past two days as the Taliban took over the city.
“I decided to leave when I heard that the Taliban were looking for me and another colleague of mine in a place I had previously stayed. Just as the Taliban took over the city, I spoke to the embassy and they asked to be there on the somehow,” Ms. Gupta told NewsMadura.
“We were stopped at a checkpoint by the Taliban and they refused to let us through. They didn’t keep talking to me because I was a woman and spoke to my driver. They wanted us to go back. After about 2 hours they took us to the embassy,” she said.
“We arrived at Kabul airport around 10 am last night. The Taliban escorted us. It was very smooth. But outside the gates, thousands of people tried to get in. They had to fire into the air to try to disperse the crowd” said Mrs Gupta.
“We waited outside the airport for five hours. We ended up having to use another entrance manned by the American and Turkish troops. Then we left at 6 am. We arrived here at 11 am. I am the Air Force who took good care of us,” she said.
“At Kabul airport, I saw slippers, children’s shoes, women’s dupattas on the tarmac – as a testament to the horrors it had witnessed the night before. I was shocked,” she said.
“The biggest fear there is among women. They speak of threats like acid attacks if they don’t cover themselves well. So there is a lot of confidence deficit when the Taliban speaks today of no discrimination,” said Ms Gupta.
“I saw a turnaround in the last 1 or 2 days I was in Kabul. Beauty salons were painted over, there were no women on the streets. And Kabul has such dynamic, intelligent and fashionable women. It’s always great to talk to them,” she said.
“And they all love India. You speak with 10 people there, there is a universal love for India and hatred for Pakistan. They had a lot of expectations from India when it came to the crisis and there the feeling of betrayal is growing,” said Ms. Gupta to NewsMadura.
India evacuated its embassy in Kabul on Tuesday morning amid an escalating humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. A special air force flight brought the envoy back along with other staffers and ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) troops. The evacuation operation faced multiple challenges in the past 48 hours as the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan on Sunday after 20 years.
On Sunday, two planes were used for the evacuation of embassy personnel. The first IAF C-17 aircraft with 45 men returned on Monday. With roads and airport operations shut down and chaos ensuing at Kabul airport, the Indian ambassador to Kabul, other personnel and ITBP troops could not be returned sooner.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the cabinet committee on security on Tuesday evening and asked officials to take all necessary measures to ensure the safe evacuation of Indian nationals from Afghanistan in the coming days.