As thousands are evacuated from Afghanistan's capital, the Taliban have reportedly kidnapped several individuals including Indian citizens. As per an update by news agency ANI, these are individuals who had been awaiting their exit from Kabul. While the news has been shared by multiple Afghan media outlets, there has however been no official confirmation of the same thus far. Taliban spokesperson Ahmadullah Waseq has incidentally denied the claims.
Later updates quoting Afghan media indicate that all Indians are safe and that their documents are being processed for evacuation. According to an NDTV report quoting Indian government sources, around 150 Indians have been picked up by the Taliban. According to a top government source, they are ot in any immediate danger.
With most of the country under the militants' control, those looking to depart the country have to navigate Taliban-guarded checkpoints in order to reach the Kabul airport. Visuals from the war-torn country depict pandemonium and occasional violence outside the airport, even as vulnerable Afghans who fear the Taliban's retaliation send forth desperate pleas not to be left behind.
In related news, a number of former government officials have reportedly disappeared in the country after the Taliban took over at the end of last week. TOLO News quoted the families of missing officials to indicate that the missing personnel include a provincial Governor and top police officials.
Earlier today, an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-130J transport aircraft took off from Kabul with over 85 Indians on board. Reports indicate that a second C-17 aircraft is also on standby and will leave for Afghanistan as soon as an adequate number of Indian nationals managed to move to the airport.
India had earlier also picked up its consulate staff from Kandahar after the town was about to be taken over by the Taliban terrorists. The Indian officials from the Kandahar consulate had later stationed themselves in the Kabul embassy and were overseeing work from there.
After the capture of the capital Kabul earlier this week, the Indian Air Force operated two sorties of the C-17 Globemaster after getting clearance from the US forces at the airport there and brought back around 180 officials, ITBP staffers and a few journalists. The Indian Air Force has already evacuated about 180 Indian passengers.
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