Around 150 people were kidnapped by Taliban from outside Kabul airport on Saturday morning, according to latest reports from Afghanistan. Most of them are reported to be Indian nationals. The people are said to have been waiting outside the airport to be airlifted from Kabul.
The shocking move by the Taliban was completely unexpected. According to local media reports, Taliban have not harmed the abducted and all are believed to be safe. Government sources in India claim that those abducted are being released gradually. The respective governments, including the Indian Embassy is trying to gauge the situation as thousands remain stranded at the Kabul airport.
The shocking move by the Taliban came moments after the Indian Air Force airlifted 85 Indian nationals from Kabul airport. Local media reports claimed that around 150 people were abducted who were waiting evacuation.
Soon after that, Taliban fighters came in minivans and armored vehicles and started taking these people as hostages and then left the airport. Taliban, however, rejected the claim. A tweet by Sharif Hassan, a Kabul-based reporter for The New York Times, quoted a spokesperson for the group denying the reports.
Local media reported that all the 150 people were then taken to a garage near the airport where they were being held. It was initially feared that the Taliban would torture the hostages but they were being questions, according to source.
The Taliban checked the papers of the Indian and questioned them for over two hours. At the time of writing this report, new was coming in that the abducted Indian have been released by the Taliban and are now inside the Kabul airport.
Government sources informed that all the 150 Indians are now safe and waiting for the next flight out of Kabul after two hours of tension. It is still not known if any of them were bodily harmed but some reports claim that they were beaten before being abducted.
A person, who managed to escape along with his wife and some others, had told local media Etilaatroz that the abductees include some Afghan citizens and Afghan Sikhs as well but most of them are Indian citizens. The source claimed that Taliban fighters "approached them" while they were heading to the Kabul airport in minivans for evacuation. When they couldn't enter the airport for lack of cooperation, the Taliban "took them all to Tarakhil, an eastern neighborhood in the capital Kabul after beating them physically."
On the other hand, the first flight from Kabul to India on Saturday is on its way. "An Indian Air Force C-130J transport aircraft took off from Kabul with over 85 Indians. The aircraft landed in Tajikistan for refueling. Indian government officials are helping in the evacuation of Indian citizens on the ground in Kabul," sources said.
India has evacuated all embassy staff but an estimated 1,000 citizens remain in several cities in the war-torn country, and ascertaining their location and condition is proving to be a challenge, a Home Ministry official has said. Among those are around 200 Sikhs and Hindus at a gurudwara in Kabul.