AI flight with 87 Indians from Kabul lands in Delhi


Afghanistan lawmaker Narender Singh Khalsa is among the 23 Afghan Sikhs on the C-17 aircraft, reports Asian Lite News

A special Air India flight ferrying 87 Indians from Afghanistan’s Kabul landed in Delhi early on Sunday. The Indians were taken to Tajikistan’s capital of Dushanbe from Kabul on board a transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday. A C-17 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) also took off from Kabul with another 168 people, including 107 Indians and some 20 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, onboard earlier on Sunday. Afghanistan lawmaker Narender Singh Khalsa is among the 23 Afghan Sikhs on the C-17 aircraft. It will land at the Hindon IAF base in Ghaziabad later in the day.

“Evacuation continues! IAF special repatriation flight with 168 passengers onboard, including 107 Indian nationals, is on its way to Delhi from Kabul,” the spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs (MEA), Arindam Bagchi, tweeted on Sunday.

Bagchi posted earlier that two Nepalese citizens are also coming to India on board the Air India flight from Kabul, which are overtaken by the Taliban last Sunday. “Bringing Indians home from Afghanistan! AI 1956 carrying 87 Indians departs from Tajikistan for New Delhi. Two Nepalese nationals also evacuated. Assisted and supported by our Embassy @IndEmbDushanbe. More evacuation flights to follow,” he tweeted at around 1:20am.

Separately, the Indian embassy in Qatar said 135 Indians, who were evacuated from Kabul to Doha in the last few days, are being sent to India. “1st batch of 135 Indians who were evacuated 4m Kabul to Doha over past days being repatriated tonight to India,” the embassy said in a post-midnight tweet.

It said embassy officials provided consular and logistics assistance to ensure the safe return of the Indians. “We thank Qatar authorities n all concerned for making this possible,” it added.

People familiar with the matter have said that Indians evacuated to Doha from Kabul were employees of a number of foreign companies that were operating in Afghanistan. The Indians were flown into Doha by US and Nato aircraft.

India has already evacuated 200 of its citizens, including the Indian envoy and other staffers of its embassy in Kabul, in two C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft of the IAF after the Taliban seized control of Kabul on August 15. The first evacuation flight brought back more than 40 people, mostly staff at the Indian embassy, on Monday. The second C-17 aircraft evacuated around 150 people, including Indian diplomats, officials, security personnel, journalists and some stranded Indians from Kabul on Tuesday.

The Taliban swept across Afghanistan this month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities including Kabul in the backdrop of the withdrawal of the US forces.

After the initial evacuations, the MEA has said the focus now would be to ensure the safe return of all Indian nationals from the Afghan capital. It has also said that the immediate priority for the government is to obtain accurate information about all Indian nationals currently staying in Afghanistan. It also requested Indians as well as their employers to urgently share details with the special Afghanistan cell.

Anis Haqqani, dreaded terrorist from Haqqani network, is Kabul’s security chief

While top Taliban leaders are in Kandahar discussing how to govern the country, the security of the capital Kabul is now in the hands of the Haqqani network–the most lethal and dangerous component of the Taliban. The man ruling Kabul now is Haqqani clans youngest son – Anis Haqqani.

The Haqqani Network, a US banned terrorist group since 2012, is an important faction of the Taliban which captured Kabul on August 15, marking a return to power after two decades in the wilderness.

According to reports from the Afghan capital, nearly 6,000 cadre of the Haqqani Network have taken control of the capital city, led by Anas Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani the founder of network and brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the terrorist group and one of three deputy leaders of the Taliban.

And since then, it is Anis Haqqani who has been meeting with Afghan government council, comprising former president Hamid Karzai, Gulbudin Hekmatyar, leader of the Hizb-e-Islami political and paramilitary group, and Abdullah Abdullah, the deposed administration’s chief peace envoy.

Interestingly Anis Haqqani was arrested in 2014. According to the Afghan security forces, he played an important role in the network’s strategy and fund-raising. He was also charged for murders, kidnappings etc. There is a rumour that he killed his girlfriend too. In 2016 he was sentenced to death, but was released with his two commanders in 2019 in exchange for the release of two Haqqani-held professors who were abducted while working for the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), Kevin King, 63, from the US, and Timothy Weeks, 50, from Australia.

Anis was flown to Doha where he joined the political group of the Taliban. Now he is back in Kabul and on Thursday he met with former Senate Chairman Muslimyar who, at one time, wanted Anis to be executed immediately.

Muslimyar had recommended that since three courts have given the death sentence to Anis Haqqani, he should be hanged to stop further crimes committed by his group.

The second in command of the Haqqani network, Anis Haqqani now says that he has forgiven all his “foes” but the Kabul sources say that he is the most dangerous and vengeful person in the group. Despite Taliban’s assurances that no door to door “search” will happen in Kabul, Anis’s Haqqani fighters have intensified their hunt for people who worked for NATO forces or the previous Afghan government. On Thursday they went for a journalist of DW, a German news publication, and killed his relative.

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