Burqa has more demand than food, 1,500 Indians stranded in Kabul alone, says Keralite

In a telephonic interview, a 29-year-old man from North Kerala, who has been working in the operations section of a US-based food processing company, explained the fluid situation in Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters stand guard in front of the main gate leading to Afghan presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo | AP)
Taliban fighters stand guard in front of the main gate leading to Afghan presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo | AP)

T'PURAM: As the violence in Afghanistan descends into utter chaos swiftly, the stranded Indians including Keralites are worried over their future as they have no one there to get in touch after the Indian government evacuated the embassy officials from there.

In a telephonic interview, a 29-year-old man from North Kerala (his identity not disclosed considering his safety), who has been working in the operations section of a US-based food processing company, explained the fluid situation in the war-ravaged country.

What's the actual situation of stranded Indians in Kabul?

It is getting from bad to worse day by day. Just two days ago, we started a WhatsApp group to get in touch with all Indians to update each other and share information regarding evacuation plans. So far, we have identified 41 Keralites but, in our estimate, there would be over 1,500 Indians in Kabul alone, leave
other locations like Kandahar.

Whether all of you are safe and have access to lifesaving essentials?

Nobody has shared any information regarding attacks on Indians till now. But the situation is changing day by day. Yesterday, they came just behind the block where I am staying and searched the premises for people who were part of the previous Afghanistan government or who supported it. I hid beneath the
table till they went away.

How do you manage to go out for your day-to-day purposes?

We are not going anywhere as it would be inviting dangers. People are staying in wherever they are now. The item in most demand now is burqa, the traditional attire of Afghan women, rather than foodstuff in the market ever since the Taliban advanced to the city.

Did anyone from the Indian government contact you people?

I spoke with the Norka-Roots CEO in Kerala and updated him about the situation here. Other than this, no one has contacted us from anywhere. The embassy officials have been evacuated. We don't know whether the government has sent any flights to Kabul to evacuate us. If yes, who would safely take us to the
airport? There's no clarity on anything.

Did the Taliban militia contact any one of you accidentally?

They inspected the baggage of some of us. But they have not inflicted any damage. At present, it seems they are focusing on the people who were part of the previous Afghan government or extended their support to them.  When we spoke to a couple of Afghan natives here, they said they would not harm us in the present situation as long as we do not do anything that upsets their plans or stance. However, we are not sure whether this stance will remain so in the coming days.

Do you people need any lifesaving essentials or equipment?

Here, the people are not concerned about Covid as it would take some time to kill people. But the imminent military threat is more dangerous. I have seen many people who were infected with the virus dying. But no one cares about it. What we are looking for is immediate evacuation as there are women and children along with stranded Indian workers.

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