New Delhi: An Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft arrived at the Hindan airbase here with 168 passengers including some eminent Afghan leaders from Hindu and Sikh communities, on Sunday morning, the officials said.
The officials also confirmed that 107 Indians have been brought back through this evacuation.
Apprehending that the Taliban militia may prevent the Afghan public representatives from taking the IAF flight, the entire plan was kept secret till the flight took off from Afghanistan, sources said.
The IAF aircraft was waiting for the clearance at the Kabul airport due to the huge rush as many countries have sent their military planes to evacuate their citizens.
“The US authorities have taken full control of the airport and they are managing the air operation from the war-torn country. In this huge rush, charting out a slot for an aircraft and also a safe air route for the evacuation flight, have become major challenges for US authority,” an official explained who was privy to these developments.
This was the second evacuation made by the Indian authorities to bring back the stranded Indian and Afghan nationals who wanted to come to India after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021.
The first air rescue operation was made on August 17, when an IAF C-17 aircraft brought back 120 Indians, including Indian Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon, the last batch of the Indian embassy staff, ITBP personnel from the Kabul airport amidst the critical situation in Afghanistan.
However, the Government has been making all efforts to bring back Indians and leaders of the Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities who have feared Taliban’s prosecution.
The Kabul airport was closed on August 16 evening for commercial operation but it was reopened for military aircraft deployed for evacuation operations on Tuesday by the American agencies.