India Evacuates 168 People on Air Force Transport Plane from Kabul | India
NEW DELHI – An Indian official said an Air Force transport plane left Kabul for New Delhi with 168 people on board.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said the plane took off from Kabul on August 22 in the morning and the passengers included 107 Indian nationals. He did not give the nationalities of 61 other evacuees from the Afghan capital.
Meanwhile, another group of 87 Indians who were evacuated from Kabul to Tajikistan on Saturday aboard an Indian Air Force plane is flying to New Delhi on Sunday, Bagchi said in a tweet. Two Nepalese nationals were also evacuated on this flight.
India began evacuating its nationals last Sunday after the Taliban invaded Kabul.
The Press Trust of India news agency said around 400 Indians are believed to be stranded in Afghanistan. No official figure was available.
A related report from Washington adds: The Biden administration is considering asking U.S. commercial airlines to provide planes and crews to help transport Afghan refugees once they have been evacuated from their country by military planes.
The US Transportation Command said in a statement Aug. 21 that the Pentagon had neither approved nor ordered the activation of commercial airlines as permitted by the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program, which bolsters the capacity of military aircraft during a crisis related to national defense.
However, the Transportation Command said it issued a warning order to U.S. carriers on the night of August 20 regarding the possible activation of the program. The order was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
If called upon under the voluntary program, commercial airlines would transport evacuees from transit stations outside of Afghanistan to another country or from Virginia’s Dulles International Airport to US military bases.