Crammed airbase, tensions in the air: How India pulled off Mission Afghanistan
New Delhi, Aug 18: For India the immediate concern following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban was to bring back its diplomatic officials along with scores of other Indians who were stranded.
The operation to bring back those stranded from Afghanistan was monitored by External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval. The first C17 had 40 Indians, while the second one comprised 100 which included Rudrendra Tandon, the Indian envoy to Afghanistan.
Sources tell OneIndia that there were several checkpoints that had to be manouvered. While most of them were being manned by the Taliban, there were some which had rogue elements. The problem was with these rogue elements who could have been detrimental to the operation to get the Indians out, the source cited above also said.
India also coordinated with several countries to ensure that this operation was a success. The other issues was that the Kabul Airport had no space and hence the C17 had to be parked for a while at Tajikistan. As the operations began the C17 was flown from the airbase at Ayni from time to time. The C17 had to be diverted due to the turmoil on the ground at the Kabul airport. There were numerous countries which were trying to evacuate their citizens as a result of which the Kabul Airport had become extremely busy.
While the first C17 returned to India on Monday morning with around 40 Indians, the second returned on Tuesday with 140 Indians. The Indian Armed Forces are well acquainted with the Ayni airbase in Tajikistan and this paid off in ensuring that the mission went ahead without any glitches, the source cited above also said.