Amid looming threats to the safety and security of the minority communities living in Afghanistan, representatives of the Taliban held a meeting with members of the Sikh and Hindu communities in Kabul, asking them not to fear for their lives or leave the country. Instead, the delegation shared their contact numbers and asked them to reach in case of any emergency.
The meeting comes at a time when the minorities expected reprisal by the Taliban but after the reassurance, they believe they can at least feel a sense of relief. However, they have been asked to raise their white flag to avoid any misunderstanding.
"A day after entering Kabul, Taliban delegates went to Karte Parwan Gurdwara to meet the Sikhs and Hindus representatives. They asked them not to worry or leave the nation. They even shared their contact numbers," Sikh Charan Singh, an Afghan living in Moscow said while speaking to The Times of India.
After the Taliban took control over the country on Sunday, August 15, the minority communities took refuge in Gurdwara Karte Parwan or locked themselves in their homes due to fear. The majority of them were either unable to flee the country or did not wish to leave.
"We lived under the Taliban's rule from 1996-2001, we were not scared of them back then and do not fear them even now. The only concern is war and pillaging. For now, there is a bit of relief after they gave us the assurance, provided they keep their words" an Afghan Sikh spoke to TOI on the condition of anonymity.
He informed that they had imported goods from various countries which were now lying with the Afghanistan customs department for clearance. For now, five of the total six gurdwaras, as well as two Hindu temples in Kabul, are closed.
Govt Working On Modalities
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal's (SAD) Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that the Indian government is working on modalities to ensure Hindus and Sikhs stuck in Afghanistan reach back to their homeland safely.
"I am in constant touch with President, Gurdwara Committee of Kabul. The Sangat has informed me that over 300 people belonging to minorities (most of them Sikhs), have taken refuge in Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul due to the current crisis.
While confirming the meeting between the Taliban and the minority groups, Sirsa hoped that the Sikhs and Hindus will be able to live a peaceful life, despite the political and military developments in Afghanistan.
MEA Assures Help
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated that the government would take all possible steps to ensure the well-being of Indian nationals, besides facilitating the repatriation of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs. The Ministry said that it would facilitate the evacuation of those who wish to leave the country due to safety concerns.