India on Tuesday urged its citizens to leave Afghanistan on a special flight, which is scheduled to take off from Mazar-e-Sharif city in the evening. The development came amid the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.
Staff member from India’s consulate in the city will also be evacuated, PTI reported, citing unidentified officials.
The special flight will land in Delhi. “Indian citizens desiring to leave by special flight should immediately convey their full name, passport number, date of expiry by Whatsapp at the following numbers: 0785891303 & 0785891301,” the Consulate General of India in Mazar-e-Sharif tweeted.
On Monday, the Taliban, who have launched an offensive against the Afghan government and captured several cities, said that they were moving towards Mazar-e-Sharif, Al Jazeera reported.
The group also claimed to have captured Aybak, the capital of the Samangan province in Afghanistan’s northern region, on Monday. Aybak is the sixth provincial capital seized by the Taliban in four days, according to the news channel.
Clashes between the Taliban and Afghan forces have escalated as foreign troops prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of August.
On July 11, India had temporarily evacuated consulate officials from Kandahar. Five days after that, Reuters India chief photographer Danish Siddiqui was killed in the city while reporting about clashes between the Taliban and Afghan Special Forces.
Also read: ‘Situation dangerous’: India issues advisory for journalists, other nationals in Afghanistan
Later that month, the Indian Embassy in Kabul issued a security advisory for its nationals, especially media persons, in view of the escalation of violence in Afghanistan.
The embassy advised Indian nationals to exercise “utmost vigilance and caution with regard to security at workplace, place of residence and also during movement to their places of work”.
The advisory said that they must avoid non-essential movement and travelling during peak commuting hours. It also advised Indian nationals to avoid crowded places such as shopping complexes and restaurants.
While on roads, Indians must maintain distance from possible targets such as “military convoys, vehicles of government ministries/ offices, high ranking officials, law enforcement agencies”, the advisory added.
“Traveling outside the main cities should be strictly avoided,” it said. “Indian companies operating in Afghanistan are advised once again to make special security arrangements in respect of their Indian employees deployed at project sites.”
All Indian nationals travelling to Afghanistan were advised to register themselves with the embassy or consulate on their websites. “Those already present in Afghanistan, but have not registered, are requested to do so,” the advisory added.