• Monday, Jun 05, 2023
  • Last Update : 06:33 pm

Over 100 Indians held by Taliban evacuated from Kabul

  • Published at 01:45 pm August 22nd, 2021
Evacuees from Afghanistan
Evacuees from Afghanistan sit inside a military aircraft during an evacuation from Kabul, in this photo taken on August 19, 2021 at undisclosed location and released on August 20, 2021 Staff Sgt Brandon Cribelar/US Marine Corps/Reuters

The Indians had been detained by the Taliban and taken to a police station, where their travel documents were checked

India on Sunday evacuated all its nationals who were briefly held by the Taliban in Kabul on Saturday.

A C-17 Air Force transport aircraft carrying 168 people - including the 107 Indians - from Kabul airport touched down at Hindon air base on Delhi's outskirts at 10am (IST).

Some 26 Afghan nationals, including two prominent senators from Kabul, were also among those evacuated by the Indian Air Force, officials said.

"I feel like crying. Everything that was built in the past 20 years is now finished. It's zero now," Indian-origin Afghan senator Narender Singh Khalsa told the media upon arrival.

Earlier this morning, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted a few photos of the evacuation efforts at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

"Evacuation continues! IAF special repatriation flight with 168 passengers onboard, including 107 Indian nationals, is on its way to Delhi from Kabul," he wrote.

Apart from the military plane, three other commercial flights evacuating another 100 stranded Indian nationals from Kabul also landed at Delhi airport this morning.

On Saturday morning, these 107 Indian nationals were among some 150 people picked up by armed Taliban fighters from outside the Kabul airport.

Quoting sources, multiple media outlets had reported that the Indians were "kidnapped" by the Taliban and taken to a police station, where their travel documents were checked.

Also Read - Taliban imposes order around Kabul airport

These Indians were subsequently released, the reports said, citing the same sources.

On Friday, the Indian Air Force airlifted 85 Indians from Kabul. And three days prior to that, India evacuated all its diplomatic staff, including the Ambassador, from Kabul.

Though Afghanistan has closed its airspace for all civilian flights, military aircraft are still evacuating foreign nationals with the help of the US troops stationed at Kabul airport.

In the past two weeks, India has evacuated all its diplomatic staff and their families from its three consulates in Afghanistan - Kandahar, Jalalabad and Herat.

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan last Sunday, with the American troops virtually ending their 20-year military presence in the South Asian country.

India is worried about the implications of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, given it has so far infused over three billion USD worth development aid into that country.

The horrific memories of the Taliban's role in the hijacking of an Indian airliner in 1999 also worries Delhi. "It's a wait and watch situation for us," a diplomat recently said.