New Delhi: Amid fear of Taliban rule in Afghanistan and people seeking an exit, France evacuated 21 Indian nationals on its first evacuation flight from capital Kabul, Emmanuel Lenain, ambassador of France to India informed on Wednesday (August 18).
Lenain said the flight, which took off on Tuesday, rescued Indians including the elite Gurkhas who were ensuring security of the French Embassy. “The first French evacuation flight from Kabul yesterday included 21 Indian nationals: the elite Gurkhas who were ensuring security of the French Embassy,” the French envoy to India tweeted.
He added, “As discussed in a call between Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian and External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar, France coordinates actively with India on Afghanistan, especially at UNSC.”
— Emmanuel Lenain (@FranceinIndia) August 18, 2021
Earlier, at least 45 Indians, including the embassy staff, were evacuated in an Indian Air Force aircraft. As per ANI report, a C-17 evacuation flight reached New Delhi with personnel and equipment on Monday (August 16). After Kabul fell to the Taliban and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani fled, thousands of people have been making desperate attempts to leave the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday in a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) directed to extend all possible help to evacuate Afghan Sikhs and Hindus. Modi said, “India must not only protect our citizens, but we must also provide refuge to those Sikh and Hindu minorities who want to come to India, and we must also provide all possible help to our Afghan brothers and sisters who are looking towards India for assistance.”
Meanwhile, as per a Bloomberg report, the United States of America has frozen nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash in order to keep the Taliban from accessing the money.
Citing an official, Bloomberg said that any central bank assets that the Afghan government has in the US will not be provided to the Taliban, which stays on the Treasury Department`s sanctions designation list.
(With agency inputs)