India evacuates Kandahar consulate staff

World Sunday 11/July/2021 17:20 PM
By: DW
India evacuates Kandahar consulate staff

India evacuated about 50 diplomats and other staff members from its consulate in the Afghan city of Kandahar on Sunday, as Taliban forces continue to gain control.

The staff members traveled back to Delhi on Saturday night, in an Indian Air Force flight.

"India is closely monitoring the evolving security situation in Afghanistan. The safety and security of our personnel is paramount," said a spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs on Twitter. The ministry said this was a temporary measure, and the consulate would continue to function through local staff members.

The insurgent group claimed to have gained control of over 85% of Afghanistan, as troops from the US and other foreign forces are finalizing their withdrawal from the war-torn nation after 20 years.

US pullout from the country is 90% complete. President Joe Biden said the US mission would fully withdraw by August 31. US allies have also been leaving the country, with Australia on Sunday becoming the latest nation to confirm all of its troops have returned from Afghanistan.

While peace talks have been taking place, tensions between the Afghan government and the Taliban continue to raise questions over the stability in the region.

Indian media reported that the embassy in Afghanistan had asked Indians to exercise caution and avoid non-essential travel to Afghanistan. An advisory issued by the embassy had described the situation in Afghanistan as "dangerous."

Russia had closed its consulate in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif last week. China had evacuated more than 200 nationals from Afghanistan earlier this month. In June, Australia shut down its embassy in Kabul, saying it would be reopened "when circumstances permit."