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Taliban Stop 72 Afghan Sikhs & Hindus From Boarding IAF Plane: Report

The Taliban reportedly stopped a group of 72 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus from boarding an Indian Air Force plane on Saturday, sending them back from the Kabul airport.

The Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, including two minority members of Afghanistan parliament, were seeking evacuation to India. According to World Punjabi Organisation (WPO) president Vikramjit Singh Sahney, they had been waiting outside the airport for since Friday.

“Taliban fighters stopped them from boarding the IAF plane and said that since they are Afghans, they must go back. The group has returned to Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Guru Gobind Singh ji Karte Parwan in Kabul,” The Indian Express quoted Sahney as saying.

“They were supposed to board the plane along with 80 Indian citizens… Now the only way to evacuate Afghan Sikhs and Hindus is to negotiate with the Taliban and tell them that Sikhs need to visit India for the 400th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Teg Bahadur ji later this year,” said Sahney.

Also Read: Taliban Kidnap Many Indians Outside Kabul Airport: Afghan Media

Since the Taliban completed the takeover of Afghanistan by getting into Kabul on Sunday, 280 Afghan Sikhs and about 40 Hindus have taken shelter at Karte Parwan gurdwara in Kabul.

Their representatives held a couple of meetings with Taliban leaders, who assured them of peace and safety, and told them they need not leave the country.

On March 25, 2020, though, an Islamic State (IS) gunman allegedly stormed Gurdwara Guru Har Rai Sahib in Kabul and opened fire, killing at least 25 Sikhs. Since then, members of both minority communities have been urging governments of India and Canada to evacuate them from Afghanistan.