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Year After Kabul Fell To Taliban, Afghan Students’ Wait For Indian Visa Continues


The year after Kabul defeated the Taliban, the waiting time for Indian visas for Afghan students continues

The restrictions have hardened since the US left and the Taliban took power last year. (Avatar)

New Delhi:

About 2,500 students in Afghanistan continue to wait for any move from India to grant them visas to study in the country. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan last year on August 15, India suspended all visas. Since then, India has only issued about 300 visas, and those visas are mainly for Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan, ethnic minorities that have faced persecution.

India restarted Afghan embassy operations in June, but it’s not official yet and it makes no difference to the visa waiting list.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, Farid Mamundzay told journalists in Delhi that there is a need for flexibility in the visa regime. He said the matter has been discussed with the Indian side but they are still waiting for a response.

Currently, there are about 14,000 Afghan students in India studying at 73 other universities and institutes. They were all in India before Kabul fell to the Taliban when the US withdrew and their supported government collapsed.

Those planning to travel last year had their visas revoked amid turmoil in their country – at a time when Afghans were desperate to leave their country.

When Kabul fell

Indian embassy staff were evacuated on August 17 last year, two days after the fall of Kabul. A statement from India said, “For Afghan nationals, our visa service will continue through the Emergency Electronic visa facility, which has been extended to Afghan nationals. This can be accessed through our e-visa portal. “

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Existing visas were canceled after the Taliban took over Kabul, when many Afghans were desperate to leave. (Avatar)

Eight days later, a statement from the Home Office said that “visas previously issued to all Afghan nationals, who are not currently in India, will lapse immediately”.

It added that “due to the pervasive security situation in Afghanistan and the streamlining of the visa process by introducing an e-Emergency X-Misc visa, all Afghan nationals from there are only allowed to visit India by e-Visa”.

Slow recovery

Meanwhile, Afghans who once went to India for medical treatment are now making their way to Pakistan and Iran. About 50,000 Afghans will visit India every year before last year for medical treatment. There are 15 weekly flights now reduced to two, with barely any passengers.

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Since last August, most of the Sikh and Hindu Afghans have had Indian visas due to persecution. (File)

In June this year, India restarted the operations of its embassy in Kabul when it deployed a technical team there. The State Department press release said it was “closely monitoring and coordinating the efforts of various stakeholders to effectively deliver humanitarian assistance and continue our engagement with the people of Afghanistan.” .”

Mainly blamed for the hasty withdrawal that plunged Afghanistan into chaos, the US evacuated about 1,20,000 people from Afghanistan within two weeks in August 2021. This includes 74,000 Afghans by count. Information shared by Congressman Chellie Pingree.

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