PM Modi chairs Cabinet meet on Afghanistan situation; Shah, NSA in attendance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is chairing a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security at his residence on the prevailing situation in Afghanistan following the swift takeover by Taliban two days ago. The meeting is being attended by senior ministers and officials, including home minister Amit Shah, national security advisor Ajit Doval, defence minister Rajnath Singh and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

Indian ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon, who came back from Kabul earlier in the day as part of India’s emergency evacuation from the war-torn nation, is briefing the CCS.

The PM has been constantly in touch with senior officials over the situation. “He was taking stock of the situation till late in the night on Monday and was updated when the flight (with staff of the Indian embassy in Kabul) took off. He has also instructed that adequate arrangements be made to ensure food for all those who returned at Jamnagar,” a source was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is on a four-day visit to the US to attend UN Security Council events, said the movement of the Indian ambassador and the Embassy staff from Afghanistan to India was a “difficult and complicated exercise” as he thanked those who cooperated and facilitated the efforts.

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A C-17 Globemaster aircraft of the Indian Air Force carrying around 150 people, including diplomats, officials, security personnel and some stranded Indians, landed at the Hindon airbase near the national capital around 5pm after a brief halt at Jamnagar in Gujarat, in the wake of escalating tension, fear and uncertainty gripping the Afghan capital following the seizure of power by the Islamic militant group, two decades after it was overthrown by the US military.

It was the second evacuation flight as another C-17 aircraft brought back around 40 people from the Hamid Karzai International (HKI) Airport in Kabul on Monday as part of India’s emergency evacuation mission that was carried out following coordination with relevant authorities, including US officials handling security at the airport in the Afghan capital.

The government has been making all efforts for total evacuation of Indian citizens stuck in Afghanistan after the Taliban asserted control over the nation.

India has also opened an e-visa facility for Afghans, irrespective of religion amid the crisis.

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