A total of 129 passengers who were onboard the Kabul-Delhi Air India flight arrived on Sunday evening. The flight took off from Kabul around the same time that the Taliban terrorists entered Afghanistan’s capital. The passengers included Indian citizens, Afghanistan citizens and members of the Afghanistan parliament.
One of the returnees, Abhishek said, “The locals are very scared about their future. When we were coming back to India they said to us, “You are going. Where will we go? This is our motherland.” Abhishek said that he had gone from Delhi to Kabul with a few colleagues as part of his work in a solar panel company. There were only 20 passengers on his Delhi-Kabul flight a week ago but when he returned on Sunday, the flight was full. He added, “There was heavy traffic on the way to the airport. I walked for 2.5 km to reach the airport. I did not see any Taliban men but we did hear at the airport that the Taliban was capturing everything. I am glad I came back safely.”
Sohini Sarkar, another Indian who returned on the flight said, “People were rushing to the airport and all flights were sold out. My family members live in the USA and India and they were very concerned about my safety.” Ms Sarkar had been living in Kabul for the last few months as she works in an NGO which is associated with USAID (The United States Agency for International Development). She said, “Women in Afghanistan were very concerned.”
“Because in the last few years they have made a lot of progress in freedom, education and their way of living. I don’t know what will happen in the days to come. Very few people might be able to get out.”
Afghan members of Parliament who returned included Sayed Hassan Paktiawal and Abdul Qader Zazai.
Mr Paktiawal told NDTV, “I don’t know where Mr Ghani (Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani) is. He might be at some airport. We came to Delhi because we will have a meeting here.” On being asked why there was no resistance from the Afghanistan government and military when Taliban terrorists entered Kabul, Mr Paktiawal said, “It is a big game. Ask the Americans.” On the issue of fears about the condition of the women of Afghanistan who are still left back there, Mr Paktiawal said, “We will have to wait.”
Abdul Qader Zazai said, “Till 3 pm today I was an MP but now I am an ex-MP. The conditions today turned very bad. A joint government might be formed. India is my 2nd home. I am an ex-Businessman and I have had good business with India.” On President Ghani’s whereabouts, he said, “He and his team flew to Dubai.”
On the future of Afghan women, Mr Zazai said, “The Taliban spokesperson has said they will not cause problems to women and will keep things the way they have been for last 20 years.”
Sabeq Isa, an Afghan citizen who returned said that he had come to Delhi with his wife and daughter-in-law. Isa was born and brought up in Kabul but later moved to Germany where he had been living with his wife for the last several years. His daughter-in-law however was in Kabul and the couple had been living in Kabul for the last two months. He said, “We will live at a hotel in Delhi for the next few months. We will go back to Kabul only if the situation gets better but that looks unlikely. My daughter-in-law has an interview at the German embassy so in all likelihood we will all go to Germany from here.” Mr Isa added that several of his relatives were still in Afghanistan and he would pray for them.