India Reviews Operational Plan In Kabul Embassy As Taliban Rises Again

India Reviews Operational Plan In Kabul Embassy As Taliban Rises Again
Taliban at the Gates of Kabul

As the Taliban advances on many provincial capitals, the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada have chosen to relocate their embassies.

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In the midst of other nation’s efforts to safeguard its diplomats stationed in Afghanistan, the Indian government has begun a series of talks on whether to reduce back activities at its Embassy in Kabul. 

The meetings in New Delhi took place amid reports that the Taliban has taken territory about 50 kilometres from Kabul, and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has stated that he is discussing how to “remobilize” the Afghanistan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) to protect the capital and other cities.

Security assessments had previously been in favour of maintaining the Indian Embassy in Kabul fully operating, after consulates in Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif were shuttered and Indian employees flew out, according to sources.

Lessen Confusion

On Thursday, MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi stated that there are “no preparations” to remove personnel from Kabul, the last remaining Indian mission in Afghanistan. Indian Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon is also leading the mission in Kabul at the moment, and authorities have been careful not to give any “panic signals” that may jeopardize security.

However, as the Taliban has made inroads on many provincial capitals in the last two days, the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada have chosen to relocate their diplomatic employees and are deploying more security troops to Kabul to guarantee a seamless withdrawal.

The United States will have flown in around 3,000 soldiers by the evening of August 15th, while the United Kingdom will contribute approximately 600 troops.

According to press sources, European nations such as Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands have chosen to close their embassies, while others such as Finland and Sweden have reduced their diplomats’ presence. Despite promises from a Taliban official that the organization would “not strike embassies or diplomats,” Germany and France have begun to evacuate their personnel from Afghanistan.

Secure Compound

Furthermore, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other NATO embassies are likely to move some skeletal personnel to the Kabul airport area and retain diplomatic missions there even if the city is invaded. According to an official, this will result in significantly lower security staff levels in Kabul’s diplomatic “Green Zone.”

As a result, officials from the MEA, MHA, and the National Security Council Secretariat are evaluating contingency preparations in the event of a Taliban takeover of Kabul or if violent confrontations erupt in the city.

According to the sources, the Indian embassy has also been inundated with visa requests from Afghan residents and families with ties to India, which would need to be reviewed by Embassy employees, which is another component in the decision-making process.

Former Ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha stated that while the security of Indian soldiers is of “utmost concern,” the timing of the decision must also be carefully considered.

“There is a conundrum in that any rash choice would be very damaging in terms of morale. Recent US intelligence assessments suggesting timeframes for the fall of Kabul have already sparked concern.

There is also the consular perspective to consider, as well as the necessity to satisfy the demand for visas from many of India’s allies. “If time allows, we need to have a burst in this activity before we reduce our activity levels,” Mr Sinha explained.