MEA clarifies: Consulate in Kandahar is open, but Indian staff brought back home for now
The response has come in the wake of media reports that with the Taliban recapturing most major cities in Afghanistan, India has closed its consulate in Kandahar and evacuated its diplomatic personnel on Saturday.
The External Affairs Ministry on Sunday rubbished reports that India's Consulate in Kandhar in Afghanistan had been closed and clarified that the mission is very much operational. However, it admitted that some personnel had been brought back due to intense fighting near the city.
The response has come in the wake of media reports that with the Taliban recapturing most major cities in Afghanistan, India has closed its Consulate in Kandahar and evacuated its diplomatic personnel on Saturday.
In response to the media queries, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "The Consulate General of India in Kandahar has not been closed. However, due to the intense fighting near Kandahar city, India-based personnel have been brought back for the time being."
Stating that it is a purely temporary measure until the situation stabilizes, Bagchi added that the Consulate continues to operate through its local staff members.
Further, he added that India is closely monitoring the evolving security situation in Afghanistan.
"Arrangements are being made to ensure continued delivery of visa and consular services through our Embassy in Kabul," the spokesperson said.
As an important partner of Afghanistan, "India remains committed to a peaceful, sovereign and democratic Afghanistan," he added.
As per reports, about 50 Indian personnel posted at the Kandhar consulate in Afghanistan have been brought back to New Delhi amidst the Taliban advancing its control in several provinces. The development has triggered security concerns for the officials posted there.
As per the sources, India had pressed in Indian Air Force transport aircraft to bring them back.
During the weekly press briefing last week, Bagchi had said that New Delhi's response would be calibrated according to the situation on the ground in Afghanistan.
India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.