A total of 143 Afghan nationals, including defence personnel and students, who were stranded in the city owing to the COVID-19-induced lockdown, boarded a special Kam Air flight to Kabul from Pune International Airport on Sunday.
The flight, which was arranged by the Afghan government with the help of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, landed in Lohegaon in the early afternoon. The flight had brought back nine Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan.
“The first batch of stranded Indian citizens leave Kabul by KamAir flight to Pune today,” tweeted the Indian Embassy in Kabul, adding, “More to follow. We urge all Indian citizens to exercise patience and cooperate.”
Airport authorities said the flight carrying the Afghan nationals departed for Kabul at 1.30 p.m. They said all departing passengers had been thoroughly screened for COVID-19 symptoms and that none had exhibited any. The arriving Indian nationals had been sent to quarantine facilities.
The Afghan nationals, who had been stranded in the city and other parts of the State, included cadets pursuing courses at the National Defence Academy and officers on exchange programmes at the Military Institute of Technology as well as students pursuing academics at various educational institutes in Pune city.