Indian brothers, sisters rescued us, cries Afghan woman on landing in India

The situation in Afghanistan is "deteriorating", an Afghan woman refugee, who was among 168 people evacuated from Kabul on a special Indian Air Force flight this morning, told news agency ANI

Aug 22, 2021
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Indian brothers, sisters rescued

The situation in Afghanistan is "deteriorating", an Afghan woman refugee, who was among 168 people evacuated from Kabul on a special Indian Air Force flight this morning, told news agency ANI.  The woman said she, her daughter and her two grandchildren had been forced to flee after the Taliban "burnt down my house", and she thanked the Indian government for rescuing them.

"Situation was deteriorating in Afghanistan, so I came here with my daughter and two grandchildren. Our Indian brothers and sisters came to our rescue. They (the Taliban) burnt down my house. I thank India for helping us," the woman, who did not wish to be identified.

A total of 168 people, including 107 Indians, 24 Afghan Sikhs and two Afghan senators, were on board the Indian Air Force transport aircraft that landed at the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad near Delhi earlier today. The evacuees included some Indian Sikhs who had taken refugee at a Kabul gurudwara.

ANI visuals also showed an infant among those safely evacuated; in the video the child is in the arms of his/her mother, while a young girl (presumably the older sister) smiles happily and kisses the baby.

Photographs also showed a second infant was on board the plane; the child was also safe in his/her mother's arms, with the father standing by their side, as the young family waited to be processed, NDTV said, 

A few hours before the Air Force flight landed, three others - operated by Air India, IndiGo and Vistara - carrying evacuees from Afghanistan touched down at the national capital.

The flights were bringing back people evacuated from Kabul earlier this week and flown first to Dushanbe in Tajikistan and Doha in Qatar, due to safety concerns over flight routes out of Afghanistan

Two Afghan senators were among the 24 Afghan Sikhs who landed in India this morning. One of them, Senator Narender Singh Khalsa, was in tears.

 Asked about how the situation was in Afghanistan, he broke down. "I feel like crying... Everything that was built in the last 20 years is now finished. It's zero now," he said.

"We had to come repeatedly to the airport. The Taliban are cruel, barbarian people. We had to go through many hardships. Even at the airport the Taliban were insistent, saying 'Don't leave. Why are you leaving?' We thank the Modi government for getting us to safety," added another Afghan Sikh passenger.

India has assured that it would extend help to Hindus and Sikhs, as well as its "friends" in Afghanistan who need help and who have worked wiith India on its various development projects.

"India must not only protect our citizens, but also provide refuge to Sikh and Hindu minorities who want to come to India. We must also provide all possible help to our Afghan brothers and sisters who are looking towards India for assistance," Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quoted as saying at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee of Security last week.