Air India flight with 78 people evacuated from Afghanistan lands in Delhi
As many as 78 people, including 25 Indian nationals, are brought to New Delhi from Tajikistan's Dushanbe in a special Air India flight on Tuesday. They were flown out of Taliban-controlled Kabul to Dushanbe in an aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) a day before. "Helping in the safe return from Afghanistan. AI 1956 enroute to Delhi from Dushanbe carrying 78 passengers, including 25 Indian nationals. Evacuees were flown in from Kabul on an @IAF_MCC aircraft," Arindam Bagchi, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson, tweeted.
Bagchi also posted a short clip of passengers on board the flight shouting Sikh slogans like Waheguru Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ki Fateh.
India is expected to evacuate more people, including its own nationals and dozens of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, from Kabul. On Monday, Indian authorities evacuated 75 Sikhs amid the deteriorating situation in war-torn Afghanistan.
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Three copies of the Guru Granth Sahib and 75 people, including 46 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, will also be evacuated from Afghanistan on an IAF plane. “Three Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji are being escorted to the IAF aircraft at Kabul Airport. Forty-six Afghan Hindus and Sikhs along with stranded Indian nationals are blessed to return on the same flight,” Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.
Puneet Singh Chandhok, president of the Indian World Forum, said nearly 200 more Afghan Sikhs and Hindus are still stranded in Afghanistan. “These people have taken shelter at the Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul, which is close to the airport,” he told news agency PTI.
India evacuated nearly 540 people, including 475 of its nationals, on several flights from Kabul, Dushanbe and Doha on Sunday. Nearly 200 people – including diplomats, officials and security personnel posted at the Indian embassy and some Indian nationals – were flown out of Kabul within two days of the Taliban capturing Kabul.