Congress Leader Jaiveer Shergill Writes To External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar On Afghanistan Crisis

Sikhs, Hindus 'Sitting Targets For Taliban': Congress Leader To Centre

Afghanistan: Taliban are capitalising on final stages of withdrawal of US-led foreign forces. (File)

New Delhi:

With the Taliban making military gains in Afghanistan, Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill today wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and asked for the immediate evacuation from the war-torn country of Hindus and Sikhs on special visas.

“My love for my own people” has compelled me to take up the matter with your esteemed office, Mr Shergill, who is also the Congress’s national spokesperson, said, as he requested the government to also provide economic security to the people of Indian-origin who have been affected by the war.

Mr Shergill said that around 650 Sikhs and 50 Hindus were stuck in Afghanistan and have become sitting targets for a Taliban “adamant to kill minorities belonging to Indian origin”.

“The numerous episodes of attacks on minorities of Indian origin, especially the recent shameful act of Taliban removing “Nishan Sahib” (Sikh holy flag) from the holy Gurdwara located in Paktia, killing of 25 Sikhs during the attack on Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul, the suicide attack in Jalalabad on 1st July, 2018, in which 19 Sikhs and Hindus were killed, are living testimony of the fact that Afghanistan is no longer a safe country for Indian origin Hindus-Sikhs,” he said in the two-page letter.

He noted: “the Taliban offensive has escalated in Afghanistan, post-US withdrawal of troops, “and they are fighting, at the gunpoint, to turn the country, once again, into a hub for transnational terrorism.”

The Congress leader noted that minorities of Indian origin, fearing for their lives, had appealed to the Government of India for their immediate evacuation.

“I also request that since these people have lost their livelihood, the Government of India may also provide them economic security,” he said.

The Taliban tightened the noose around northern Afghanistan Sunday, capturing three more provincial capitals as they take their fight to the cities after seizing much of the countryside in recent months.

The insurgents have snatched up five provincial capitals in Afghanistan since Friday in a lightning offensive that appears to have overwhelmed government forces.

In the eastern province of Paktia, the insurgents had removed Nishan Sahib from the roof of a Gurdwara. It was restored later after India condemned its removal.

The pace of Taliban advancement comes as the US begins the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan. The withdrawal of foreign forces is due to be complete at the end of this month, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States that sparked the invasion which toppled the Taliban.

With inputs from Reuters

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