Confusion over Indian evacuees’ status, reports suggest Taliban rounded them up

The Indians were rounded up by the Taliban and taken to some unknown location close to the airport for further checks, the people said. Following inquiries and checking of documents such as passports, the group was sent back to the airport on Saturday afternoon, the people added.

Confusion surrounded the status of some 150 Indians who were to be evacuated from Afghanistan following reports that they had been rounded up by the Taliban near Kabul airport on Saturday, hours after a military aircraft flew out another 80-odd Indians to Tajikistan.

The development was first reported on the website of the Afghan media outlet Etilaatroz and its sister publication Kabul Now, which cited a source as saying that more than 150 people, most of them Indians, had been “abducted”. The outlets subsequently quoted a Taliban spokesman as rejecting the allegations of abduction.

Etilaatroz also reported the Indians were safe and their passports were being checked before they were sent to the airport.

There was no official word from Indian officials on the development. The government has kept all details of the evacuation of Indian nationals from Afghanistan under tight wraps because of operational and security reasons.

People familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity that there were problems when a group of more than 200 people, including around 70 Afghan nationals and the remainder Indians, came to Kabul airport in a convoy late on Friday. The Taliban, who are outside the airport, stopped the group, following which most of the Afghans reportedly escaped.