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“Taliban reneged on Doha Commitments”: Government at All-Party Meet

New Delhi: The government has told 31 opposition parties that its immediate priority is the evacuation of all Indians from Afghanistan, sources said on Thursday afternoon. Sources also said the government told the opposition the Taliban broke promises made during talks in Doha.

This was during an all-party meet called by Prime Minister Modi to brief the opposition on the “critical” Afghanistan situation.

Around 15,000 people have sought assistance in fleeing from Afghanistan, sources said, adding that Foreign Minister S Jaishankar had stressed that evacuation of Indians is “top priority”.

“We have brought back most Indians… not all. Some could not make it for yesterday’s flight. We will definitely try and bring back everyone. We have instituted an e-visa policy and the government is strongly committed to ensuring a full evacuation as soon as possible,” Mr Jaishankar said.

He also said the Prime Minister had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. There will be more such high-level calls in the days to come, he said.

“We have undertaken evacuation operations in extremely difficult conditions, especially at the airport. Our immediate concern and task is evacuation, and the long-term interest is the friendship for the Afghan people,” Mr Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.

Apart from Mr Jaishankar, the meeting was attended by Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi.

Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge (Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha) and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (party chief in the Lok Sabha) were among the opposition leaders present, as were NCP chief Sharad Pawar, the DMK’s TR Baalu, and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda.

After the meeting Mr Kharge told that his party had also expressed concern over reports that a female Afghan diplomat had been deported. He said the government had told him a “mistake” had been made, that “it won’t be repeated”. and that it would “look into the matter”.

Mr Kharge also expressed broad support for the government, underlining that the situation in Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan is “the entire country’s problem”.

“We have to work together in the interests of the people and the nation,” he said, adding that the government had sought patience from the opposition while it plans the evacuations.

BJD leader Prasanna Acharya, who was at the meeting, told “In the meeting, the government has denied reports it has been isolated… has told us rescue efforts are being intensified.”

Last week news agency Reuters said the group had agreed to a two-week cease-fire in exchange for President Ashraf Ghani’s resignation and the start of talks to set up a transitional government.

India, which has been allowed to operate two flights per day from Kabul, has evacuated over 300 of its citizens so far. Overall, more than 600 people have been brought back so far.