New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India's priority will be evacuating Indian citizens from Afghanistan and the Afghan nationals who stood by us at the time of need, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said today amid the concerns over the evacuation of stranded citizens from the war-torn country. This came a day after two explosions rocked Kabul airport killing at least 85 including civilians and US military personnel.

Addressing a weekly presser, Bagchi said India has evacuated over 550 people in six separate flights, either from Kabul or Dushanbe. Of the total evacuees, around 260 were Indians while others were other nationals including Afghan nationals.

"Of these, over 260 were Indians. The government of India also facilitated the evacuation of Indian nationals through other agencies. We were in touch with various countries, like US, Tajikistan," Bagchi said. He further added that the overall assessment is that the vast majority of Indians who wish to return have been evacuated. "Some more are likely to be in Afghanistan. I don't have the exact number for that," he added.

Regarding the policy of evacuation, Bagchi said India was able to bring out some Afghan nationals as well as nationals from other countries. "Of these, many of them were Sikhs and Hindus. Primarily, our focus will be on Indian nationals, but we'll also stand by Afghans who stood by us."

On the question whether India will recognise a Taliban dispensation in Afghanistan, Bagchi said there is currently a lack of clarity or no clarity about any entity forming a government in Kabul.

"The situation on the ground is uncertain. The prime concern is the security and safety of the people.... Currently, there is a lack of clarity or no clarity about any entity forming a government in Kabul," he said. Bagchi said India is in touch with various parties regarding operating evacuation flights from Afghanistan

This briefing comes a day after External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Thursday said that India's focus is on evacuation and the government is doing everything to evacuate people from Afghanistan post the Taliban takeover.

Speaking after an all-party meeting on the current situation in Afghanistan, Jaishankar said the government is very strongly committed to ensuring full evacuation as soon as possible. He further informed that under Operation Devi Shakti, the government will try and evacuate Indians from Afghanistan.

(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan