New Delhi, Aug 15: The Air India flight AI-244 from Kabul with a full load of 129 passengers took off today from Kabul, the capital of strife-hit Afghanistan, as the country gets surrounded by Taliban troops.
The return flight (with call sign AI-244) departed from the Kabul airport with 129 passengers at around 5.35 PM (Indian Standard Time). However, they stated that the airline is monitoring the situation closely and it would take appropriate action as required.
Officials of Air India said that there is no plan yet to cancel its Delhi-Kabul-Delhi flight as of now and that it is scheduled to operate on Monday too.
Currently, only Air India is operating flights between India and Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters entered the outskirts of Kabul as panicked workers fled government offices and helicopters began landing at the US Embassy in the Afghan capital, further tightening the militants’ grip on the country.
Taliban say in a statement they don’t plan to take Kabul ‘by force’ as sporadic gunfire echoes in Afghan capital.
Three Afghan officials told The Associated Press that the fighters were in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman in the capital. The militants themselves didn’t acknowledge the advance, though they earlier took Jalalabad, near a major border crossing with Pakistan, the last major city other than Kabul not under their control.
The Taliban has defeated, co-opted or sent Afghan security forces fleeing from wide swathes of the country, even with some air support by the US military.
The rapid shuttle-run flights near the embassy began a few hours later as diplomatic armored SUVs could be seen leaving the area around the post. The US State Department did not immediately respond to questions about the movements.