Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
The scramble to get inside Kabul airport and catch a flight out of Afghanistan has been nothing short of chaotic. Governments of various countries have ramped up efforts to bring back their citizens stranded in the country. Even the Indian government was taking care to see that its nationals were carted back safely to the country.
There were 45 Keralites who were among the latest batch of Indians airlifted from Afghanistan who reached New Delhi on Sunday.
A person from north Kerala who was in Afghanistan for the past few years told IANS on condition of anonymity: "It has been a nightmare and I don't know how to express it. There are several checkposts erected by Taliban and getting up to the airport was a herculean task. I thank the Government of India and the Government of Kerala for having helped all of us back to India. All the Keralites are back in the country."
Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan told mediapersons that the government has brought in a group of Indians in which Keralites are also there. "According to our information, around 500 Indians are still stranded in various areas of Afghanistan and we will be airlifting them as well," he said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan thanked the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bringing the Keralites back to the country from Afghanistan.
Vijayan, in a tweet, called upon anyone who is still stranded back in Afghanistan to contact the NORKA Roots website or the helpline of the External Affairs Ministry which is working 24x7.
Former Indian diplomat Venu Rajamony told media that there is however no exact data on the number of Indians and Keralites working in Afghanistan as several people who reach that country from the UAE and other countries do not register with the embassy. However, he said that the Indian embassy has operational contacts with the Taliban as was evident by the evacuation.
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