Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita Holds Talks with US Ambassador, Special Envoy for Libya

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita, held talks on Monday, August 16, 2021, with the US Ambassador and Special Envoy for Libya, Mr. Richard Norland.

At the end of these talks, Mr. Norland said that his country is very grateful to the useful role played by Morocco to support the political process in Libya.

“The role that Morocco plays in the region to support the political process in Libya is very useful” and the United States of America is “very grateful”, stressed the US diplomat.

The meeting between MFA Nasser Bourita and Mr. Norland covered several topics, including the upcoming elections in Libya, scheduled for December. “Now is the time to establish the constitutional and legal basis for these elections,” concluded Mr. Norland.


India evacuates 170 people from Afghanistan, including ambassador

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Nearly 200 personnel of Indian mission in Afghanistan evacuated in three days, alongside Indian civilians working in the country.

An Indian air force plane has evacuated more than 170 people from Kabul, including India’s ambassador to Afghanistan, a government official says, as diplomats and civilians scramble to leave the country after the Taliban took the capital.

The flight landed in the western Indian city of Jamnagar for refuelling on the way to the capital New Delhi, Jamnagar collector Sourabh Pardhi told Reuters news agency on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters, Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon said the nearly 200 personnel of the Indian mission in Afghanistan had been evacuated within three days, alongside Indian civilians working in the country.

“You cannot imagine how great it is to be back home,” Tandon said. “We are back home safely, securely, without any accidents or harm to any of our people.”

Tandon described the situation in Afghanistan as “fluid”, adding that a small number of Indian nationals remained in the country and that authorities were attempting to bring them back.

“In view of the prevailing circumstances, it has been decided that our ambassador in Kabul and his Indian staff will move to India immediately,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi posted on Twitter.

After Taliban fighters streamed into the capital unopposed, thousands of people desperate to flee Afghanistan thronged Kabul’s airport on Monday, prompting the United States to pause evacuations.

India, which has invested millions of dollars in development projects across Afghanistan, once operated four consulates in the country, besides the embassy in Kabul.

The last operating consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif was shut down a week ago, days before the Taliban took control of the northern city, where the Afghan army quickly surrendered.

The Indian government on Tuesday also announced a new electronic visa that would fast-track applications from Afghans who wish to escape to India.

The foreign ministry said it would expedite the repatriation of the country’s Hindu and Sikh communities, a move criticised by the opposition parties and activists as discriminatory.

How India brought back its ambassador, staff from embassy in Kabul

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India announced on Tuesday that its ambassador and staff at the embassy in Kabul were being brought back home even as a second C-17 Globemaster heavy lift aircraft took off from the Afghanistan capital with more than 120 people on board.

On Monday, another C-17 aircraft had brought back some 40 people, including diplomats and security personnel, before operations at Kabul airport were suspended and control of the airspace over the city was handed over to the military.

“In view of the prevailing circumstances, it has been decided that our Ambassador in Kabul and his Indian staff will move to India immediately,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.

Ambassador Rudrendra Tandon had taken up his assignment in Kabul in August last year, and people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity that the decision to bring back the envoy and diplomatic staff was made because of the perception that their security could not guaranteed in the Afghan capital.

The people said the second C-17 aircraft of the Indian Air Force was bringing back more than 120 people, including officials and security personnel from the embassy and some Indian nationals, from Kabul. The people were brought into the secure areas of Kabul airport late on Monday, they added.

Also Read | Taliban must ensure soil not used by terror groups: India

On Monday, the people who were to return on the second military evacuation flight were initially turned back by Taliban fighters guarding Kabul’s diplomatic quarter and later drove to the airport following intense efforts by the Indian side all through the day.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar too was involved in these efforts. At almost 3am on Tuesday, he tweeted about his discussions in this regard with US secretary of state Antony Blinken: “Discussed latest developments in Afghanistan with @SecBlinken. Underlined the urgency of restoring airport operations in Kabul. Deeply appreciate the American efforts underway in this regard.”

There was no official word on the two C-17 flights. The people cited above said both C-17s had flown into Kabul using a more circuitous route through Iranian airspace and over the Arabian Sea in order to avoid flying over Pakistan and spending too much time in Afghan airspace.

The repatriation of the ambassador and other staff from Kabul reflected India’s lack of trust in the Taliban’s announcement that all embassies and diplomats would be provided security. Taliban spokesman Suhail Saheen had tweeted on Monday night: “We assure all diplomats, embassies, consulates, and charitable workers, whether they are international or national, that not only no problem will be created for them on the part of IEA but a secure environment will be provided to them, Inshallah.”

There was also no official word on the status of the Indian embassy in Kabul, where many Western countries have shuttered their missions. After the Covid-19 outbreak last year, India had closed its consulates in Herat and Jalalabad, while the consulates in Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif were left in the care of local Afghan staff as fighting with the Taliban intensified in recent weeks.

In a separate development, the Union home ministry (MHA) announced on Twitter on Tuesday that it had reviewed “visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan” and introduced a new category of electronic visa called “e-Emergency X-Misc Visa” to “fast-track visa applications for entry into India”.

Also Read | Repatriation of Indians hit as chaos clouds Kabul airport

The online portal for e-visa applications was updated and when an applicant selects “Afghanistan” in the drop down menu, the “e-Emergency X-Misc Visa” category shows automatically. Afghanistan is not yet listed among “eligible countries” on the homepage of the e-visa portal, but the application form was updated to include Afghanistan and the new e-visa category, officials said.

Jaishankar also tweeted that the Indian side is in “constant touch with the Sikh and Hindu community leaders in Kabul”, and their “welfare will get our priority attention”. India had earlier said it will facilitate travel to India by members of the two Afghan minorities.

The minister further tweeted that he was monitoring the situation in Kabul continuously. “Understand the anxiety of those seeking to return to India. Airport operations are the main challenge. Discussions on with partners in that regard,” he added.

“Given the Kabul situation, important we have accurate information about Indians there,” Jaishankar said in another tweet and called for such information to be provided to the external affairs ministry’s Special Afghanistan Cell at the phone number +919717785379 and the email ID:

There was no word if any Indian nationals were still in Kabul, which is currently the only way out of Afghanistan as the Taliban have taken over all land border crossings and smaller airports.