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IAF plane on evacuation mission flying back to Delhi from Kabul with another 107 Indians on board

IAF plane on evacuation mission flying back to Delhi from Kabul with another 107 Indians on board

An Indian Air Force C-17 transport plane is on its way from Kabul to Delhi with 107 Indians on board who were stranded in Afghanistan.

This batch was among the people who were picked up by the Taliban from outside the Kabul airport. The Indian authorities had undertaken some back channel diplomacy to get them released.

“A special repatriation flight by the Indian Air Force – carrying 168 passengers, including 107 Indians – is on its way to Delhi from Kabul. Also, two other flights – Air India and IndiGo – carrying Indians evacuated from Kabul landed in Delhi from Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe and Qatar's Doha this morning,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi tweeted.

Also read:  Germany, Switzerland forced to cancel evacuation flights out of Kabul as people can’t reach airport

Many Afghan journalists claimed that over 100-150 Indians were kidnapped by the Taliban from outside the Kabul airport. Minutes after these reports surfaced on social media, local journalists claimed that all the Indians were safe and will be moved back to the Kabul airport. They said the Indians were rounded up by the Taliban and taken somewhere for checks.

A report in the Kabul Now online news portal quoting  'reliable sources' confirmed the development that 150 people mainly Indian nationals had been picked up by the Taliban.

The source, who managed to escape with his wife and a few others, said that some of the abducted people included Afghan nationals and Afghan Sikhs, but most of them were Indian nationals.

He said they were all in eight minivan vehicles at around 01:00 this morning, which were on their way to Kabul airport to exit the country, but they could not enter the airport due to lack of US military cooperation.

According to the source, "a group of Taliban who were not armed approached them and then after physically beating them all and took them to Tarakhil, an eastern neighbourhood of the capital Kabul."

However, Ahmadullah Waseq, one of the Taliban spokespersons, has rejected reports of the abduction of around 150 Indian citizens from Kabul. He said members of the group were present around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul and would not allow people to enter the airport, local media reported.