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India to temporarily close Consulate General office at Mazar-e-Sharif amid Afghan crisis

India to temporarily close Consulate General office at Mazar-e-Sharif amid Afghan crisis

New Delhi: India has pulled out a total of 50 Indian nationals, including diplomats, from the Mazar-e-Sharif in view of the deteriorating security situation in the country with intense fighting between Afghan security forces and the Taliban. The citizens reached New Delhi on Wednesday.

The Centre stated that India has temporarily closed its Consulate General office at Mazar-e-Sharif and has arranged special flights for Indian citizens to leave for New Delhi.

On Tuesday, the Indian Consulate General in Afghanistan's Mazar-e-Sharif had on social media platform said, "A special flight is leaving from Mazar-e-Sharif to New Delhi. Any Indian nationals in and around Mazar-e-Sharif are requested to leave for India in the special flight scheduled to depart late today evening."

The consulate also appealed to Indian citizens, who are desired to leave for New Delhi by special flight, to share their details and whereabouts.

The Indian Embassy in Afghanistan had also advised the Indian citizens to keep themselves abreast of the availability of commercial flights and make immediate arrangements to return before the air services were discontinued.

Further, the embassy has directed the Indian companies operating in Afghanistan to immediately withdraw their Indian employees out of undergoing projects in the country.

For the Indians, who are working for the foreign firms, the embassy asked them to request their employers to facilitate their travel from project sites to India. Around 1,500 Indians are engaged in different kinds of work in the war-ravaged Himalayan nation that was rebuilding itself over the last decade before the US troops pull out and Taliban resurgence.

On media persons visiting Afghanistan, the embassy appealed to them to get in touch with the Public Affairs and Security Wing of the Embassy for a personalized briefing.

"This will help media persons make a better assessment of the risks involved, given the rapid changes in security situation taking place in different parts of the country," the Indian embassy in Afghanistan said.

This was the third security advisory that India has issued in the last three months. Last month India pulled out around 50 diplomats and security personnel from its consulate in Kandahar following intense clashes between Afghan forces and Taliban fighters around the city.

Earlier, the US and the UK had also evacuated their citizens.

Mazar-e Sharif, or just Mazar, is the fourth-largest city of Afghanistan, with a population estimate of over 5 lakh until a few months back. It has been the capital of Balkh province and is linked by highways with Kunduz in the east, Kabul in the southeast, Herat in the southwest and Termez in Uzbekistan in the north.

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