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168 Passengers Including 24 Sikhs Evacuated From Afghanistan, Afghan Sikh MP Breaks Down While Talking To Media!

By: Harleen Kaur | August 22, 2021

According to fresh reports, an Indian Air Force repatriation flight on Sunday evacuated 168 passengers, including 107 Indians, from Afghanistan. The flight which landed at Hindon air base in Ghaziabad was also carrying two Afghan senators and 24 Afghan Sikhs. 

Those evacuated are likely to be shifted to the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara in Delhi. The passengers took RT-PCR tests for Covid-19 at the airport and will all be given free polio vaccines, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said. 

Three other flights belonging to Air India, IndiGo and Vistara, carrying Indians citizens, left Kabul and landed in Dushanbe in Tajikistan and Qatar’s Doha. The flight from Tajikistan, carrying 87 Indians and two Nepali citizens, arrived in Delhi earlier in the day and the second batch of 146 Indian nationals who were evacuated from Afghanistan to Doha, is being repatriated to India today, according to ANI. The evacuation efforts came as the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on August 15, entering the presidential palace in the capital Kabul and ending an insurgent offensive that ripped through the country in 10 days. 

Though many of those who were evacuated from Afghanistan expressed relief, there were also those who were uncertain about starting their lives from scratch again. Afghanistan MP Narender Singh Khalsa broke down while speaking to reporters at the Hindon air base, reported ANI. 

“Our ancestors had been living in the country for ages,” he said. “Everything that was built in the last 20 years is now finished. It’s zero now.”

An Afghan citizen who arrived in India with her daughter and two grandchildren, said that the Taliban burnt down her house. “I thank India for helping us,” she said. “I don’t know what I will do here,” Rajiv Malik, who came to India with his family, told The Indian Express. “I built a life there [in Afghanistan]…it’s all gone. Earlier, we thought we could stay in Afghanistan but the Taliban men started burning houses in the area. I am happy my family got saved in time.” 

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday spoke to his German counterpart Heiko Maas on the challenges related to emergency evacuation from Kabul. The two leaders also discussed policy implications due to the situation in the conflict-torn country.

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