Taliban stop 72 Afghan Sikhs, Hindus from boarding IAF plane

The Taliban are learnt to have stopped a batch of 72 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus from boarding an Indian Air Force (IAF) plane on Saturday.

They were sent back from the Kabul airport. Minority members of Afghanistan, Narinder Singh Khalsa and Anarkali Kaur Honoryar were a part of the group.

“Taliban fighters stopped them from boarding the IAF plane and said that since they are Afghans, they must go back. Now the group has safely returned to Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Guru Gobind Singh ji Karte Parwan in Kabul,” Indian Express quoted president of World Punjabi Organisation (WPO) Vikramjit Singh Sahney as saying.

He went on to say: “Now the only way to evacuate Afghan Sikhs and Hindus is to negotiate with the Taliban and tell them that Sikhs need to visit India for the 400th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Teg Bahadur ji later this year.”

According to Indian Express, since the Taliban takeover, a group of 280 Afghan Sikhs and 30-40 Hindus have taken shelter at Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul.

They also held two meetings with Taliban representatives who assured them of ‘peace and safety’ and said that they need not leave the country.

Meanwhile, a Taliban official ruled out incidents of reported kidnappings of foreigners, but added, “we are questioning some of them before they exit the country.”

“Our fighters will continue to demonstrate restraint,” a Taliban official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The Taliban armed group have denied responsibility for the disorder at Kabul airport and have said the West could have had a better plan to evacuate.

Families hoping for a miracle escape crowded between the barbed-wire surrounds separating the Taliban from US troops and remnants of Afghan forces amid chaos and reports of violence by the group, Al Jazeera reported.