Washington: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar underlined the urgency of restoring airport operations in Kabul as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to him over phone and discussed the situation in the war-ravaged country after the Taliban recaptured the Afghan capital of Kabul.
India on Monday said it will take all steps to ensure the safety and security of its nationals and facilitate repatriation of Sikhs and Hindus who wish to leave Afghanistan as the Taliban takeover triggered fear and uncertainty and forced suspension of commercial flights after the Kabul airport authorities declared the Afghan airspace as “uncontrolled”.
Jaishankar, who arrived in New York on Monday to chair two high-level signature events this week under India’s current Security Council Presidency, and Blinken discussed the situation in Afghanistan, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in Washington.
Soon afterwards, Jaishankar tweeted, “Discussed latest developments in Afghanistan with @SecBlinken. Underlined the urgency of restoring airport operations in Kabul. Deeply appreciate the American efforts underway in this regard.”
It is learnt that Jaishankar was also involved in hectic discussions including with US officials on the evacuation of the Indian diplomats from Kabul.
Under an emergency evacuation plan, an Indian Air Force plane with over 100 persons on board landed on Tuesday at Jamnagar in Gujarat from Kabul in Afghanistan.
The C-17 aircraft touched down at the IAF air base at Jamnagar shortly before noon.
Jaishankar has said that he expects to discuss the situation in Afghanistan during his engagements at the United Nations.
Jaishankar arrived in New York on Monday as the Security Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, the second time in just over the 10 days that the powerful UN body met under India’s Presidency for the month of August to discuss the rapidly deteriorating and unraveling situation in the war-torn country.
In a series of tweets, Jaishankar said that he is monitoring the situation in Kabul continuously. Understand the anxiety of those seeking to return to India. Airport operations are the main challenge. Discussions on with partners in that regard.
Jaishankar also said that New Delhi is in constant touch with the Sikh and Hindu community leaders in Kabul. Their welfare will get our priority attention.
India along with many other countries was surprised at the lightning advances made by the Taliban across Afghanistan in capturing power after the US began pulling out its troops on May 1 from the country, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on September 11.
India has been a key stakeholder in Afghanistan and it has invested nearly USD 3 billion in carrying out nearly 500 projects across the strife-torn country. PTI