Roads full of enemies, embassy staff reached the airport in peril | India News

The journey from the Indian Embassy in Kabul to the airport takes no more than 20 minutes on good days. But on Monday night, it took nearly an hour for the convoy of 14 armored vehicles carrying Indian Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon and other officials – every minute was breathtaking suspense.
The Taliban had erected roadblocks throughout the city. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar tweeted: “The movement of the Indian Ambassador and Embassy staff from Kabul to India has been a difficult and complicated exercise.” The safety of Indian officials was the government’s main concern, as Prime Minister Modi and his leaders, including NSA Ajit Doval and Jaishankar made clear. The operations were led by JP Singh, MEA co-secretary, while Tandon held the end of things in Kabul.
The Taliban roadblocks outside the Indian Embassy were bad enough. The worst part was that there was no armed escort for the Indians. Intelligence suggested that the 15 checkpoints between the embassy and the airport were filled with men in all types of attire – Taliban, Lashkar and Haqqani and suspected ISIS.
Traveling without an escort was not an option. The Americans were unwilling to help, citing their own evacuation responsibilities. Finally, Indian security agencies assembled a group of “local assets” who were able to negotiate with the men stationed at checkpoints.
PM and NSA monitored midnight convoy ride to Kabul airport
The plan was very risky, although under the circumstances the best that could have been done.
On Sunday evening, the government moved the first batch of 45 officials in an overnight convoy to the airport. A C-17 plane had taken off at night from India and had collected them on the morning of the 16th, bringing them back in the afternoon.
But things took a turn for the worse and became volatile on Monday. Ordinary Afghans stormed the airport, and the world saw heart-wrenching scenes of people climbing on top of a plane, crowding US Air Force planes out. Armed Taliban were everywhere in the city and the roads were blocked.
The Indians had to wait until nightfall. At that time, many Indian citizens in Kabul, who had failed to comply with government travel advisories on time, reported to the embassy. They could not be turned away. A convoy of 14 vehicles, with armed ITBP personnel bringing up the rear and the “local” escort, made it to the airport late at night. By then, all documents had been shredded and the embassy had been kept to a minimum. India has not officially closed the embassy, ​​as Afghan staff continue to look after it. He was evacuated due to the prevailing situation.
A second C-17 took off from Hindon on the night of the 16th and parked in Dushanbe, ready to jump to Kabul. The Americans, who then took control of Kabul airport, gave the Indian plane a three-hour window. But first they had to get the officials and other Indian nationals to the airport safely.
The midnight drive was nothing short of breathtaking. At each checkpoint, the local escort “negotiates” the movement.
Back in New Delhi, Modi and Doval and other senior officials stayed awake late into the night, following the convoy through the streets of Kabul until they were safely through the airport gates. Jaishankar was watching from the plane he was traveling on to the United States. At one point it took a high level intervention to get the Americans to facilitate the Indian movement.
The Indians had to wait for daybreak when the C-17 arrived from Dushanbe. The return home was over Iranian airspace, avoiding Pakistan, landing first at Jamnagar for fuel and food, before arriving at Hindon.
The threat to the Indians of Afghanistan is very real and efforts continue to bring another 1,650 registered people back to the hotlines. The task is complicated as many must first be brought to Kabul after negotiating Taliban checks and staying in a hotel near the airport. Thereafter, special flights, possibly hired in Qatar as well, could be used to bring them back.