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Govt to prioritise rescue of Indian workers from Afghanistan

New Delhi: The government has decided to rescue Indian workers on priority and steps are being taken to contact them at the earliest, sources said here on Thursday.

These Indian workers have been working at the different projects in Afghanistan and are anxiously waiting to return to India after the Taliban took full control of the country on August 15, 2021.

Amid reports of clashes between Taliban militia and the Afghan Army in some places like Jalalabad and Khost, it has become challenging for Indian authorities to contact Indian workers and bring them back to Kabul safely, the sources further said.

The Indian authorities are also considering treating other government documents like Aadhaar card or voter identity cards for those whose passports were taken away by the local employers who ran away from the cities fearing Taliban, they added.

Many Indian workers have complained to the Indian officials that their passports were deposited with their employers and they do not have them to travel back to India.

The External Affair Minister Dr S. Jaishankar has already reiterated that bringing back Indians from Afghanistan was the top priority of the Government.

In the last meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked officials to bring Indians back from Afghanistan at the earliest.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has set up an ‘Afghanistan Cell’ to coordinate repatriation and related matters and they are in constant touch with the representatives of the Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities.

With the closure of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, these workers have been facing problems in contacting the Indian authorities; however, the Indian officials have assured them that steps are being taken to resolve this issue at the earliest.

The Government is in constant touch with the US officials in Kabul for the safe return of these workers and also waiting to reopen the Kabul airport, an official who was privy to these developments said on condition of anonymity.

Reacting to the problems being faced by the Indian workers, the West Asia expert and senior journalist Qamar Agha said that the Indian government was fully capable of handling this situation and will evacuate all Indians from Afghanistan. “India has a vast experience in evacuating thousands of its citizens from Iraq, Kuwait and other conflict zones in the past. Of late, we have also brought not only our people from Yemen but also foreign nationals who were stuck there safely,” Agha said.

The major problem is that Afghanistan is a land locked country and the Pakistan has blocked their land routes so they will be evacuated by air only and we have military transport aircrafts, Air India planes which were successfully used in emergency evacuation in past and this time too, the Government will successfully rescue all Indians safely”, the official added.

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