US reveals India cooperated with troop withdrawal, evacuations from Afghanistan

The US Defence Department has revealed that India cooperated with the US in the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan and the evacuation of its citizens and others after the Taliban took over the country and have agreed to help those at risk there, according to a US spokesperson

Arul Louis Sep 22, 2021
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US reveals India cooperated with troop withdrawal, evacuations from Afghanistan

The US Defence Department has revealed that India cooperated with the US in the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan and the evacuation of its citizens and others after the Taliban took over the country and have agreed to help those at risk there, according to a US spokesperson. No operational details were disclosed. 

The disclosure was in a readout on Tuesday by Department Spokesperson John Kirby of Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin's phone conversation with India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. 

Austin “thanked India for its cooperation throughout the evacuation and retrograde mission in Afghanistan,” the readout of the Monday phone conversation said.

“Both leaders committed to continue to monitor the situation in Afghanistan and to assist remaining at risk groups,” Kirby said.

Their conversation came ahead of the Quad summit convened by President Joe Biden with Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India, Yoshihide Suga of Japan and Scott Morrison of Australia on Friday.

India has apparently had an understated role in the chaotic US departure from Afghanistan unlike some other countries like Qatar that cooperated overtly.

The US evacuated over 120,000 people – its citizens and permanent residents as well as those who had worked with US organisations in Afghanistan and others facing danger from the Taliban.

None of the evacuation flights was known to have gone through India.

Singh who tweeted about the conversation did not mention the cooperation in the evacuation or troop withdrawal (for which Kirby used the military euphemism, “retrograde mission”).

His tweet said that they discussed bilateral defence cooperation and regional matter including Afghanistan.

Kirby said that Singh and Austin “reiterated their commitment to ensuring the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open.”

Austin told Singh that he looked forward to hosting him for the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue of the heads of foreign affairs and defence of the two countries expected to be held later this year, he added.

Austin visited India in March and has been in constant touch with Singh.