21 Aug 2021: 150 people, including Indians, captured by the Taliban: Reports
Nearly 150 people, many of whom are believed to be Indian citizens, have been abducted by Taliban fighters from outside the Kabul international airport in Afghanistan, the local media reported. A government source has confirmed the news, adding that back-channel talks are currently underway for their safe release, according to NDTV. However, a spokesman for the Taliban denied the allegations.
Details: Abductees were reportedly headed to the airport for evacuation
Kabul Now, a local media outlet, quoted a source as saying that he, along with his wife and some others, managed to flee the kidnappers. He said that those abducted include Afghan nationals, Afghan Sikhs, as well as Indian citizens. They were traveling in eight minivans around 1 am on Saturday to reach the Kabul airport, when the said incident took place.
Details: 85 Indians were evacuated earlier in the day
Reports about the kidnapping surfaced just hours after an Indian Air Force C-130J transport plane took off from Kabul with some 85 Indians on board. It has since landed in Dushanbe in the neighboring Tajikistan for refueling, news agency ANI reported. Another Indian Air Force flight (C-17) is on standby for further evacuations, the NDTV report added.
Embassies: Taliban ransacked two Indian embassies in Afghanistan
On Friday, reports emerged that Taliban members had visited two of India's Consulates in Afghanistan earlier this week. They broke the locks, looked for documents, and took away parked cars, Indian government sources confirmed to the media. India has notably shut all its embassies in the war-torn country and brought back most of its staffers and security personnel.
Fact: Nearly 1,000 Indians are still in Afghanistan
Close to 1,000 Indian citizens are still in several cities across Afghanistan. They include some 200 Sikhs and Hindus who have taken shelter at a gurudwara. The Taliban has maintained it would not harm foreign diplomats and nationals.
Context: What is happening in Afghanistan?
The Taliban, a group of insurgents infamous for violence and infringing human rights, regained control of Afghanistan on Sunday. They had seized many key cities before reaching Kabul in a matter of days. Former President Ashraf Ghani also fled the country on Sunday. The group's return coincided with the United States' decision to withdraw troops after 20 years of war.
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