Afghanistan crisis: Around 150 Indian citizens were picked up by the Taliban from outside the gates of the Kabul airport this morning, according to a top government source, who also said that they were in no immediate danger.
The Indian nationals were being questioned at a nearby police station. Talks are ongoing to secure the release of all Indian citizens, the source added.
Earlier, there were reports that the Taliban had abducted over 150 persons, including Indians. The Taliban, however, rejected the claim. Earlier in the day, an Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft managed to evacuate around 85 Indians from Kabul; the plane has landed safely in Tajikistan, sources said, adding that a second aircraft was on standby in India for further evacuations.
India has evacuated all embassy staff, but an estimated 1,000 citizens remained stuck in several cities in the war-torn country, and ascertaining their location and condition was proving to be a challenge, a Home Ministry official had said, since not all of them registered themselves with the embassy. Among those are 200 Sikhs and Hindus, who have taken refuge at a gurudwara in Kabul.
Late Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Taliban, which seemed to be trying to project a more moderate image, released a video of the gurudwara head saying he had been assured of safety.
-PTC News with inputs from agencies