A day after it was reported that around 150 Indians were allegedly kidnapped by the Taliban from outside the Hamid Karzai International airport in Kabul, the stranded individuals were successfully rescued by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Sunday (August 22).
The development was confirmed on Twitter by News18 journalist Aditya Raj Kaul. In a tweet, he informed that an IAF C-17 aircraft, carrying 150 Indian nationals and 23 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, took off from Kabul at 5:30 am in morning. “Good news. Over 150 Indian nationals & 23 Afghan Sikhs/Hindus have taken off from Kabul at 5:30 am in an Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft & will be landing in India soon. This is the same group which was yesterday stopped and harassed by a Taliban group aircraft,” he said.
Here are the visuals of the IAF aircraft landing at Hindon Air Base.
Good news. Over 150 Indian nationals & 23 Afghan Sikhs/Hindus have taken off from Kabul at 5:30am in an Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft & will be landing in India soon. This is the same group which was yesterday stopped and harassed by a Taliban group. Photo of boarding at Kabul. pic.twitter.com/zM2vvuJCwN— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) August 22, 2021
Rishikesh Kumar of Sputnik reported yesterday that those abducted included a number of Afghan Sikhs and citizens but most of them were ordinary Indians. The people, including women and children, had reached the airport at 1 AM but could not enter. Kumar reported that soon after, Talibs came and thrashed some of them and took them all to Tarkhil, Kabul. Some managed to escape from the moving car, reported Kumar. According to those who had escaped, the Talibs told them that they were being taken inside the airport through another gate but it is not clear if they were indeed taken in or transferred to another location.
Two Afghan MPs, Narender Singh Khalsa and Dr Anarkali Kaur Honaryar amongst the 23 Sikhs rescued from Kabul
More than 20 Afghan Sikhs, including Afghanistan Member of Parliament Narender Singh Khalsa, were rescued from the Taliban in Kabul by the Indian Air Force on Saturday (August 21). Along with him, Dr Anarkali Kaur Honaryar, first Sikh woman MP of Afghanistan, was also rescued.
According to the reports, the Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft took off from Kabul with another 168 people, including 107 Indians and some 20 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus for Hindon IAF base in Ghaziabad.
Afghanistan lawmaker Narender Singh Khalsa is among the 23 Afghan Sikhs who were rescued by the Indian government on Saturday. Speaking to the media, Afghan MP Narender Singh Khalsa thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian Government, and the Indian Air Force for rescuing him and the Afghan Sikh minority community from the Taliban.
Other than the previous evacuation missions, three flights with as many as 390 Indians, Afghans and other nationals will land in India this morning. 168 people are evacuated from Kabul, 135 from Doha (brought by NATO forces from Afghanistan) and 87 from Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan.