Another general mood was to emerge from the talks in which Secretary of State Harsh attended Shringla, was that no part of Afghanistan should become a safe haven and that terrorism was exported to Afghanistan from outside.
While thanking the United States for a smooth evacuation of Indian diplomats, Shringla India’s top priority was the urgent need to evacuate some 400 Indian nationals, as well as Afghan nationals with ties to India, who wanted commercial air operations resumed in Kabul as soon as possible. and also continued access to the airport. He sought American help to get Indians access to the airport to reopen the commercial terminal. The Indian nationals still in Afghanistan chose to stay behind despite repeated advice from the embassy in the last few months about the looming security threat.
One day after India evacuated its diplomats from Kabul in a complicated operation facilitated by the Americans, the Taliban told ToI that they never asked India to withdraw diplomats and that they remained committed to creating a safe environment for all embassies. While the Indian government acknowledges that the Taliban finally allowed the evacuation to take place, official sources said that the evacuation was only possible after contact with the United States at 4 different levels.
Apart from NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, who spoke with their colleagues Jake Sullivan and Antony Blinken, respectively, Shringla was in contact with Sherman and Indian authorities here also pursued the matter with the US Embassy. An official source said the evacuation would probably not have taken place as smoothly as it did without US support if forces continue to control air traffic control and the technical area of Kabul airport.
While the conversation with Sherman focused more on logistical issues, ToI has learned that the general mood of the meeting was that it was important to engage in Afghanistan to ensure as representative and inclusive a government as possible, taking into account the interests and minorities of women, as well as the security and safety of diplomatic staff and missions.
The Taliban seemed to suggest that Indian diplomats would not have been harmed if they had been back.
“ We have not asked them to evacuate, but rather announced that we are committed to creating a safe environment for the functioning of embassies. We assure you that all diplomats are safe, ” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told ToI from his office in Qatar on Wednesday.
Shaheen had tweeted Monday that a safe environment will be provided to all diplomats and charities. Given the insecurity that prevails in Afghanistan but without any real government, India found it best to pull out all 192 staff involved in running the Indian mission.
As has been reported, an Indian convoy departing from the embassy to the airport on Monday was returned and Indian officials had to negotiate with the rebels through local assets about their evacuation. A few reports from Kabul have said that the Taliban finally even escorted the Indian diplomats and others who were evacuated to the airport.
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