Indians 'kidnapped' by Taliban, back-channel talks and evacuation efforts - What's happening in Kabul?

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Saturday, August 21, 2021, 03:04 PM IST
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A Taliban fighter (R) searches the bags of people coming out of the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021 | Representational image | Photo: AFP

On Saturday afternoon, hours after an Indian Air Force C-130J transport aircraft evacuated around 85 Indians from Kabul, local media reports suggested that the militants had kidnapped several individuals including Indian citizens. The group are believed to be unharmed and in no immediate danger, and are likely to depart from the war-torn country shortly.

While a Taliban spokesperson had initially denied the claim, updates quoting Indian government sources say that around 150 citizens had been picked up by the militants from outside Kabul Airport on Saturday morning. They were then questioned at a nearby police station, with Indian officials indicating that back-channel talks had been underway to secure their release.

According to an NDTV update, the group of 150 Indians had reached the airport after being questioned. The report quoted sources to say that the group is expected to be evacuated shortly. A tweet by Network 18 Group Contributing Editor Aditya Raj Kaul however seems to suggest that things are not yet resolved, citing the Coordinator of Indian Nationals in Kabul to add that while all 150 people were safe, not all had been handed over to US and NATO forces of brought inside the airport.

According to a later update by news agency ANI quoting government sources, all Indians citizens in Kabul awaiting evacuation are safe. They were offered lunch and have now left for Kabul airport, the update added.

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