Kabul: After capturing key areas of Afghanistan, Taliban fighters have now entered Kandahar as well. According to sources, in view of this, India has called back about 50 diplomats and security personnel from Kandahar by Indian Air Force aircraft. India said it had no plans to close its missions in the consulates in Kabul, Kandahar, and Mazar-e-Sharif city. Officials had said that India was closely monitoring the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. It was also said that all steps will be taken to ensure that Indian officials and civilians are not harmed.
An official said on condition of anonymity that the Indian consulate there has been temporarily closed after the Kandahar consulate’s diplomats, support staff, and guards were brought to New Delhi. Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists are present in large numbers in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, due to which diplomats and security personnel were evacuated. According to recent estimates by Afghan security agencies, there are more than 7,000 Lashkar-e-Taiba fighters fighting alongside the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.
70 Taliban fighters killed
Fierce fighting continued until Saturday after Taliban fighters captured key areas in Kandahar’s seventh police district on Friday. The Afghan military said about 70 Taliban fighters were killed in fighting in the seventh police district and the nearby Dand district. Around 2,000 families in the seventh police district were displaced and forced to take shelter in other parts of Kandahar. Kandahar is the second-largest city in Afghanistan. It has been strategically and commercially important for a long time. From the mid-1990s to 2001, Kandahar was the headquarters of the Taliban.
India is planning to ensure the safety of diplomats and about 3,000 Indian citizens in Afghanistan. India is also considering its options with a close watch on the steps being taken by major countries like America for the security of diplomats. In April last year, India closed its consulates in Herat and Jalalabad, due to Covid-19. However, in some reports, it was claimed that India had taken this step due to security reasons.
India had issued advisory
Significantly, in the wake of escalating violence in many parts of Afghanistan, the Indian Embassy on Tuesday last week issued an advisory asking all Indians living and working in the country to avoid non-essential travel. In the consultation, the embassy had said that the security situation in several provinces in Afghanistan remains “alarming” and terrorist groups have increased violent activities and there are incidents of attacks targeting civilians. It was told by the embassy that Indian citizens are in danger of being kidnapped.
There have been several incidents of violence and attacks in Afghanistan in the past few weeks. These incidents have come at a time when the US wants to completely withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by September 11, which will end two decades of US military presence in the war-torn country. India is deeply concerned about the increasing incidents of violence and the Taliban’s efforts to increase its influence in Afghanistan.
India is an important party to peace and stability in Afghanistan. India has invested about 3 billion dollars in development works in this country. India has always spoken of supporting the Afghanistan-led, controlled, and owned peace process.