Afghan Sikhs, Hindus among hundreds evacuated by India from Afghanistan
The focus of the Indian evacuation efforts from a war-ravaged Afghanistan remains focused on its own nationals but has also extended to Afghan minority groups at risk from the Taliban extremists.
Over the weekend, India brought back nearly 400 people on three different flights, which included 60 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus. Another group of 87 Indians and two Nepalese nationals were brought back in a special Air India flight from Dushanbe, a day after they were evacuated to the Tajikistan capital in an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft.
Another IAF special flight, carrying stranded Indian nationals and 46 Afghan Hindus and Sikhs, is expected to take off from Kabul Airport on August 23.
Indian World Forum President Puneet Singh Chandhok said international forces have escorted the evacuees to the IAF aircraft. According to him, three Sri Guru Granth Sahib – the Sikh holy text – are also on their way from Afghanistan to India.
"I can confirm that the stranded Indian nationals and 46 Afghan Hindus and Sikhs with three Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji are currently inside the Kabul Airport and are being escorted by International forces to the Indian Air Force aircraft on the ground," Chandhok said.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said that the Indian government is committed to the safe return of all Indian nationals from Afghanistan.The MEA said the main challenge for travel to and from Afghanistan is the operational status of the Kabul airport.