KATHMANDU: Nine Indian nationals and 118 Nepalese people, all working in the US embassy in Kabul, arrived here on Tuesday from Afghanistan on a chartered flight after the Taliban seized control of the strife-torn country.
All 127 people arrived from Kabul via Qatar Air's flight. They landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Foreign Ministry sources said. According to Sewa Lamsal, spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all the people were brought to the country with the coordination of the US Air Force from Kabul.
All were flown to Doha, Qatar and then brought to Kathmandu on a chartered flight. Nine Indians also arrived along with 118 Nepalese, officials were quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post newspaper. "The evacuees have landed in Kathmandu," Brigadier General Santosh Ballave Poudyal, Nepal Army spokesperson, told the Post.
A medical team of the Army carried out antigen tests of the evacuees before deciding whether to let them go for home isolation or keep them at isolation centres constructed by the government. Currently, two isolation centres are in operation.
"The medical teams at the isolation centre will take the decision based on the conditions of the returnees," said Poudyal. Harish Chandra Ghimire, joint secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the rescued Nepalis were working inside the United States embassy in Kabul.
"Along with Nepali citizens, nine Indian nationals have also arrived in the same flight. They too were working inside the US embassy," the report added. Those who arrived on Tuesday were evacuated by the Americans.
"The Americans brought these Nepali citizens home," Ghimire was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post. The Nepal government does not have the exact number of Nepalis working in Afghanistan, it said.
Since Nepal does not have direct diplomatic links with Afghanistan "the Embassy in New Delhi is accredited to look after Kabul" and there are no clear mechanisms in Kathmandu, officials say evacuating Nepalis, especially the undocumented ones, could be easier said than done, the report added.
After chaos and panic at the Kabul international airport on Monday, as thousands of Afghans rushed to the tarmac and clung onto the plane in a desperate move to get out of the country, all flights to and out from Afghanistan have been suspended.
Airport officials said the evacuees were brought in a Jazeera Airways plane from Kuwait.
The brutal war in Afghanistan reached a watershed moment on Sunday when the Taliban militants closed in on Kabul before entering the city and took over the presidential palace, forcing embattled President Ashraf Ghani to join fellow citizens and foreigners to flee the country.