India evacuates its staff from Kandahar consulate

By: News Desk      Published: 12:42 PM, 11 Jul, 2021
India evacuates its staff from Kandahar consulate
File photo of Indian consulte in Kandahar.

India on Sunday said it had evacuated its personnel working in its consulate in Afghanistan’s Kandahar due to the intense fighting in nearby areas, clarifying that its diplomatic mission was not closed, reported Indian media.

This comes in the wake of reports that India had closed its consulate in Kandahar in the wake of a sweeping offensive by the Taliban to retake critical towns and cities in Afghanistan after the withdrawal by the US-led forces from the country.

According to reports, the Taliban have captured more than 120 districts of Afghanistan with government forces in control of about 75. Some US estimates have suggested that Kabul could be taken over by the Taliban in six months to a year.

“India is closely monitoring the evolving security situation in Afghanistan. The safety and security of our personnel is paramount," Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said.

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“The Consulate General of India in Kandahar has not been closed. However, due to the intense fighting near Kandahar city, India-based personnel have been brought back for the time being," he said.

“I want to emphasize that this is a purely temporary measure until the situation stabilizes. The Consulate continues to operate through our local staff members," he clarified.

“Arrangements are being made to ensure continued delivery of visa and consular services through our Embassy in Kabul," he said, adding “as an important partner of Afghanistan, India remains committed to a peaceful, sovereign and democratic Afghanistan."

India had four consulates and an embassy in Afghanistan. Indian consulates were opened in Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad with the embassy in Kabul.

New Delhi closed its Jalalabad and Herat consulates in April 2020 given the covid-19 pandemic but did not reopen them afterward given the US plans to withdraw from Afghanistan.