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Committed to safe return of all Indian nationals, visa services extended for Afghan nationals: Govt

The Ministry of External Affairs said it has already received requests from Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leaders and is in touch with them.

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New Delhi: Even as diplomats and staffers of the Indian Embassy in Kabul returned here, the government said on Tuesday it is committed to the safe return of all Indians from Afghanistan and is also extending visa services to Afghan nationals.

The Ministry of External Affairs said it has already received requests from Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leaders and is in touch with them.

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It said the main challenge for travel to and from Afghanistan is the operational status of Kabul airport, where commercial operations were suspended on Monday.

“This has been discussed at high levels with our partners, including by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken,” an MEA statement said.

The Government of India is committed to the safe return of all Indian nationals and will institute flight arrangements once Kabul airport is opened for commercial operations, it said.

Referring to the return to India of Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon earlier in the day, the statement said: “In view of the prevailing situation in Kabul, it was decided that our Embassy personnel would be immediately moved to India. This movement has been completed in two phases and the Ambassador and all other India-based personnel have reached New Delhi this afternoon.”

India has been issuing periodic travel and security advisories for all Indian nationals in Afghanistan, given the deteriorating security situation there, it said.

“Those already in Afghanistan were urged to return immediately while others were advised not to travel there. Nevertheless, we understand that a number of Indians are stranded in that country, some of whom are employed by third country organisations.

“Our immediate priority is to obtain accurate information about all Indian nationals currently in Afghanistan. They and /or their employers are requested to urgently share the relevant details with MEA’s Special Afghanistan Cell: Phone: +91-11-49016783, +91-11-49016784, +91-11-49016785

WhatsApp: +91 80106 11290

Email: SituationRoom@mea.gov.in

“As regards Afghan nationals, our visa services will continue through an e-Emergency visa facility, which has been extended to Afghan nationals. This can be accessed through our e-visa portal at https:ndianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/Registration. We have already received requests from Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leaders, and are in touch with them,” the statement said.

On Sunday, the Taliban took over Kabul, while deposed president Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan, plunging the country into chaos.

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