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420 Afghan Sikh and Hindu families evacuated to India 

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(Last Updated On: September 5, 2020)

Four hundred and twenty Sikh and Hindu families have been evacuated to India from cities across Afghanistan, Vikramjit Singh Sahney, the international president of World Punjabi Organization (WPO) confirmed. 

Speaking to the Hindustan Times on Saturday, Sahney said three charter flights had been used to evacuate the families and that the organization also brought back their holy book, Guru Granth Sahib ji from Kabul. 

He said the last of the three flights arrived in India on Thursday. 

“The first challenge was to evacuate them. There were no flights, so we arranged approvals for chartered flights. We brought back 420 Sikh and Hindu families in three flights. We also brought back Guru Granth Sahib ji with full dignity”, Sahney told the Hindustan Times. 

According to him the families had been spread across the country and lived in various cities including Kabul, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Ghazni, which added to the evacuation problems.  

“We had to cancel a flight twice because the people were unable to reach Kabul due to the civil unrest in that country. We chose not to go to the media because we didn’t want anyone to face threats,” he explains.

Sahney said it had been an emotional time for the families as they had to say goodbye to their fellow Afghans. 

“Their Muslim neighbours never wanted them to leave. They lived like families and were in tears as they left. They were discouraging them from leaving. There is no animosity among people; only some radical groups create trouble,” he said.

“I, along with Dalip Singh Sethi (Los Angeles) and Paramjit Singh Bedi (New York) have launched a programme called My Family My Responsibility, under which all the families are being sponsored by Sikh NRIs, World Punjabi Organisation and Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee under MS Sirsa,” he was quoted as saying. 

“Three quarantine centres have been set up for them in Gurudwara Rakab Ganj, Bangla Sahib and Moti Bagh. They will stay there for two months till we can find them furnished accommodation,” he said. 

He also said that they would help meet their household expenses for two years, which included costs to educate the children. 

This evacuation comes after the Indian government in July said it would expedite visas and the possibility of long-term residency for Afghanistan’s Hindu and Sikh community, shrunken by decades of persecution and decimated by attacks over the past few years. 

“India has decided to facilitate the return of Afghan Hindu and Sikh community members facing security threats in Afghanistan to India,” the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement in July. 

The final straw for the Sikh and Hindu community came in March when a Daesh attack killed over 25 Sikh men, women and children at Kabul’s Hari Rai Sahib Gurudwara. 

For years they have been targeted by Daesh militants – with most of their elders killed in another attack in Jalalabad in July 2018. 

The group of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus had been waiting to meet President Ashraf Ghani when a suicide bomber blew himself up while among the crowd.

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Pakistan seal semi-final T20 World Cup spot after beating Namibia 

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(Last Updated On: November 2, 2021)

Pakistan defeated Namibia by 45 runs on Tuesday night in Abu Dhabi to become the first side to qualify for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2021.

Chasing a formidable target of 190, Namibia gave a good account of their ability and promise and eventually finished with 144-5 as Pakistan collected the two points they needed to go through to the next round.

Pakistan’s total is the second-highest in this tournament, behind Afghanistan’s 190-4 against Scotland in Sharjah.

Afghanistan’s next T20 World Cup match is on Wednesday against India.

 

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US administers over 420 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2021)

The United States has administered 420,657,683 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 518,701,225 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

The agency said 221,221,467 people had received at least one dose, while 192,244,927 people were fully vaccinated as of 6am on Saturday.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, Reuters reported.

About 17.7 million people have received a booster dose of either Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

On November 8, the United States is lifting the extraordinary travel restrictions that have barred most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Britain, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. 

It is also imposing new rules requiring nearly all foreign adult air visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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IEA arrests two gunmen after wedding party shooting 

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2021)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) deputy minister of information and culture Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed on Sunday that two people have been arrested following the shooting at a wedding party on Friday night. 

Mujahid said in a series of tweets on Sunday that three people, claiming to be IEA members, had arrived at the venue in a village in Nangarhar and ordered them to stop the music, before opening fire on the guests. 

Three people died and several were wounded, he said.

“Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident and one has escaped and is being pursued,” Mujahid tweeted.

 Mujahid said that the gunmen were handed over to officials.

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