Taliban Stops at least 140 Sikh and Hindus Pilgrims from leaving Kabul

At least 140 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus pilgrims and others have been stopped by the Taliban from going to the Kabul airport, said the president of the Indian World Forum Puneet Singh, who has been coordinating the evacuation with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The Hindu had reported that around 200 Hindus and Sikhs of Afghanistan, including other citizens of the country, were scheduled to arrive at the Hindon airbase by Thursday morning. But the movement has been stopped, as the Taliban reportedly blocked those approaching the airport.

The development has forced a delay in the departure of a special IAF aircraft, which has been waiting at the Kabul airport since Wednesday.

The Indian World Forum said the Taliban turned back the passengers from outside the airport on Wednesday night.

Guljeet Singh (Afghan Origin), President of Gurudwara Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, Vikaspuri, pointed, “regret to note that last night these law-abiding pilgrims were turned back by Taliban security forces from the airport after waiting for more than 15 hours in their convoys.”

He further appealed to the Taliban to facilitate an early departure of Afghan Hindu & Sikhs Pilgrims in the interest of humanity at the highest level”, pointing that, “Hindu & Sikh community in Afghanistan has significantly contributed in the development and economic growth of the Islamic nation and they should be granted free and safe access to arrive and depart”.

Last week, after the fall of Kabul, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs started an e-visa system for many Afghans who want to come to India. This is the first time the e-visa system is opened for Afghans, and this e-visa will be valid for 6 months. During the previous evacuations, India brought back Holy Guru Granth Sahib as well. To receive the holy book, India had sent 2 union ministers to the airport.

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