India to evacuate 180 people from Kabul today

India expected to evacuate around 180 people from Kabul on Thursday

Thousands of Afghans have been crowding around the Kabul airport for over a week, in a desperate attempt to flee the country

Representative image. Credit: Reuters photo

India is expected to bring back around 180 people from Kabul in a military aircraft on Thursday amid a scramble by various countries to evacuate their citizens before the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of American troops from the war-ravaged country, people familiar with the developments said.

Those being evacuated include Indians and a number of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, they said.

The aircraft carrying around 180 people is likely to reach Delhi on Thursday morning, said one of the people cited above.

Under its mission 'Operation Devi Shakti', India has already evacuated over 800 people in view of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Kabul after it was captured by the Taliban on August 15.

Read | 'Taliban agree to let Afghans leave after August 31'

Thousands of Afghans have been crowding around the Kabul airport for over a week, in a desperate attempt to flee the country fearing the Taliban's brutality.

On Wednesday, several G-7 leaders requested US President Joe Biden to extend the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of American troops. However, Biden said the US is trying to stick to the timetable.

"We are currently on a pace to finish by August the 31st.  The sooner we can finish, the better.  Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops," he said.

In the last few days, India has stepped up efforts to evacuate its citizens as well as its Afghan partners from Kabul in view of the deteriorating security situation in the Afghan capital and other parts of the country.

Read | How many people in Afghanistan need to be rescued?

On Tuesday, 78 people, including 25 of its nationals and a number of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, were airlifted to Delhi from Dushanbe, a day after they were evacuated from Kabul to the Tajik city.

India evacuated 392 people including two Afghan lawmakers in three different flights on Sunday.

The Taliban seized control of Kabul on August 15. Within two days, India evacuated 200 people, including the Indian envoy and other staffers of its embassy in the Afghan capital.

The first evacuation flight brought back over 40 people, mostly staffers at the Indian embassy on August 16.

The second aircraft evacuated around 150 people, including Indian diplomats, officials, security personnel and some stranded Indians, from Kabul on August 17.

India has been carrying out evacuation missions in coordination with the US and several other friendly countries.

Speaking at a think-tank, US Indo-Pacific Command Admiral John Aquilino said that there has been close cooperation between India and the US Central command in evacuating people from Afghanistan.

He said the US is committed to ensuring the safe evacuation of all its citizens as well as those from its partner countries.

Personnel from the US central command have been handling the security at the Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul.

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