60 Afghans, including 23 Hindus, Sikhs, among 400 airlifted as India’s evacuation efforts in Afghanistan continued to focus on its Indians.
Right now, many people, including foreigners, now seeking help from India in their efforts to exit Afghanistan, and the Centre has deployed a team of diplomats and defence ministry officials at the Kabul airport to coordinate evacuation efforts with the US and other countries helping the exit.
The 60 Afghans, including two lawmakers Anarkali Honaryar and Narender Singh Khalsa, were brought out amid reports that the Taliban were not allowing locals to leave the country. India had earlier promised Afghan nationals, including members of minority communities, with ties to it that it would prioritise visas for them and set up an emergency e-visa service for them.
An Afghan woman who escaped to ndia with her daughter and two grandchildren, told ANI, “The Taliban burnt down my house. I thank India for helping us.”
A Khalsa told reporters at the Hindon airbase according to PTI, “India is our second home. Even if we are Afghans and live in that country, people often call us Hindustanis. I thank India for extending its helping hand.” He added, “I feel like crying. Everything is finished. It is a very difficult and painful decision to leave the country. Everything has been snatched away,” a Khalsa said. “They (Taliban) separated us from others while going to Kabul airport yesterday (Saturday) as we were Afghan nationals. We fled from there because small children were with us,” he said.
Anarkali Honaryar, the lawmaker said, “I thank India, PM Modi, the ministry of external affairs and the Indian Air Force for lifting us from Kabul and saving my life.”
After the turbulent disturbances observed at Kabul airport, controlled by the US forces, where Afghans had been shot, Reuters reported from Kabul on Sunday that the Taliban was able to finally restore some order outside the airport by making sure people formed queues outside the main gates and by not allowing crowds to gather at the perimeter. A Taliban spokesperson was quoted as saying the group was working to provide “smooth exit” to people.
The return of Indian diplomats and other officials to Kabul in a military aircraft comes barely a week after India withdrew all diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan. The withdrawal of all 192 diplomatic staff members from Afghanistan saw some criticism as the Taliban repeatedly assured all diplomats in Kabul that they were not going to face any security threat.
The Taliban spokesperson in Qatar, Suhail Shaheen, had told TOI that it didn’t want India to recall its diplomats. According to media reports from Kabul, the Taliban even escorted Indian diplomats and others to the airport last week to expedite their evacuation.
Junior foreign minister V Muraleedharan said on Sunday that there were around 500 people stranded in Afghanistan “as per the preliminary estimation” and that evacuation was taking place in a “flawless manner”.
The world is still confused with mixed opinions floating about the Taliban. While some sources report the violence of the Taliban during this period, others discard it as fake news. Time will manistest how Afghanistan fares under the Taliban. Is this a reformed Taliban that wants to work peace with the world or will the violence start again? Will Afghanistan’s minorities be killed?