MANGALURU: Melwyn Monteiro, a Mangalurean, was one of the lucky ones to have left Afghanistan when the Taliban militia started moving closer to capital Kabul. He was able to make it to the Indian Air Force (IAF) flight that took off from Kabul airport and landed safely in Gujarat Airport on Tuesday. He reached home on Wednesday along with diplomats, Indian embassy staff and officials.
Melwyn (45), a native of Uliya at Ullal near Mangalurum has been working in the electrical maintenance department of NATO military base camp in Kabul for the last 10 years. Though they were safe under military force, it was a horrible situation for almost a week for him and his family, Melwyn told TNIE. Recounting the days at their base camp, especially for the last one week, he said they even ran out of food for two days.
“We had no lunch and dinner as there were many Indians in the catering system who were ready to fly back to India. Also, as the Taliban inched closer to Kabul, we were asked to keep our body armours close. For the last one week, we were all frightened as we have seen and heard how cruel Taliban is. We hoped that our company would airlift us and also the military was with us. However, when Afghans stormed into Kabul Airport, we realised it was not easy to return as we witnessed the chaos from our rooms,” he said.
“We saw people stand in the runway and also jump into the aircraft. Seven of us from our base could board the flight as Afghan civilians were moved away by the military forces. We reached Jamnagar army cantonment in Gujarat and reached Mangaluru via Delhi on Wednesday evening. Some of the Indians, including a few Mangalureans have been sent to Norway, London and Qatar in US/UK military flights and are expected to return after completing the quarantine period,” he said, adding that before Taliban controlled Afghanistan, they had even hid inside concrete bunkers many a times when they received information of rocket attack.
He added they never thought the Taliban would capture the country as things were normal till June end. “I visited my home in June and returned. It was during the end of July that things changed drastically overnight. We will see the situation for the next few months and if things get better, I will go back to work there,” he said. Melwyn’s wife Edwin told TNIE that they were in constant touch with him and they had to communicate only through messages, not calls. “Our prayers have been answered,” he said.
Father Robert safe in Afghanistan
Shivamogga: The family of Father Robert, from Thirthahalli town, heaved a sigh of relief after receiving a call from him that he is safe in Afghanistan. He was serving in one of the churches in Bamiyan, central province in Afghanistan. He informed his family that he is safe. According to sources, in a message to his family, he asked them to pray for the safety of all the Indians in Afghanistan.