• Monday, Aug 08, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

India announces new visa to fast-track Afghan applications

  • Published at 12:16 pm August 17th, 2021
Kabul airport Taliban Afghanistan
Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021 AFP

India’s Foreign Ministry has also set up a special cell for repatriation of Afghans

The India government on Tuesday announced a new category of electronic visa to fast-track applications of Afghans who wish to come to India after the Taliban took of the country and installed themselves in the presidential palace in Kabul. The new visa category is called “e-Emergency X-Misc Visa”.

A spokesperson of the Home Ministry said that the government reviewed visa provisions because of the prevailing situation in the country. India’s Foreign Ministry has also set up a special cell for repatriation of Afghans.

Many Afghans are desperate to leave the country after the Taliban seized Afghanistan on Sunday evening after making rapid advances through the country amid the withdrawal of foreign troops. Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani left the country, reportedly for neighbouring Tajikistan.

Meanwhile, the Indian ambassador in Kabul and the embassy staff were evacuated on Tuesday, the Ministry of External Affairs said. They are coming back to India in a special air force flight, reported NDTV.

Several other countries are also scrambling to vacate their embassies and remove their staff after the Taliban’s lightning advances in Afghanistan.

On Monday, the Union Ministry of External Affairs said that the Indian government will help members of the Hindu and Sikh communities from Afghanistan who want to come to India. “We are in constant touch with the representatives of Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities,” ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. “We will facilitate repatriation to India of those who wish to leave Afghanistan.”

The airspace over Afghanistan was closed on Monday afternoon after thousands fearful of Taliban rule desperately thronged the airport in an attempt to flee the war-torn country. At least five people were reportedly killed amid the chaos at the Kabul airport. Some videos showed horrifying images of at least two people who tried to escape Kabul by clinging to a plane fall after takeoff.

Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar discussed the situation in Afghanistan with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Jaishankar said he has spoken on the urgency of restoring airport operations in Kabul.