TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian citizens evacuated from Afghanistan had finally arrived at Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport, Jakarta. Twenty-six Indonesians flew from Kabul on board of TNI's Airforce aircraft.
The process to evacuate 26 Indonesians took three days in total. The aircraft departed from Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport on August 18. The team was sent off by Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi.
"The team took Jakarta-Aceh-Colombo-Karachi-Islamabad-Kabul route for the evacuation," said Retno in written statement on saturday, August 21. The route was taken based on logistical considerations and the condition in Kabul.
Islamabad became the most important part of the route, as the TNI aircraft refilled the fuel there and arranged the permit to land at Hamid Karzai Airport, Kabul. Due to the emergency situation, not all airplanes could land in Kabul freely.
"The decision was also taken by considering that the flight distance of Islamabad - Kabul only takes around 1 hour or less. The team can move fast once they receive the landing permit," Retno said.
The Airforce plane arrived in Islamabad on August 18 at 20:27 local time. On the same day, they got the permit to land in Kabul on August 19 at 04:10 local time.
But unexpectedly the permit was withdrawn nearing the departure time. The Indonesian government resubmitted the landing request and they finally permitted to land in early hours of August 20.
They arrived in Kabul at 05:17 but due to the tense situation in the city, Indonesian aircraft was stuck for 2 hours before they finally flew back to Islamabad at 07:10. The team initially planned to land for only 30 minutes.
"They arrived in Islamabad at 08:11 local time for fuel, and immediately flew back to the same route when they departed," she added.
Retno said that not all Indonesian citizens were evacuated to the home country. A small team from Kabul were sent to Islamabad with a purpose to monitor the development of Taliban and Afghanistan. They will help Indonesia to decide the next step that should be taken, said the minister.