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'All Afghans Can Apply, No Religion-based Priority': Amid Kabul Mayhem, India's New e-Emergency Visa

A member of Taliban forces inspects the area outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021. (Reuters)

A member of Taliban forces inspects the area outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021. (Reuters)

The e-Emergency X-Misc Visa will expedite visa application process for those stuck in Afghanistan as the country witnesses mayhem amid takeover by Taliban.

The Centre has introduced a new category of electronic visa — ‘e-Emergency X-Misc Visa’ — to fast-track applications for entry into India as situation in Afghanistan worsens. Sources told News18 that Afghans were earlier not covered under the category and had to physically present themselves in the embassy. But now, given the situation in Kabul — where embassy is also shut — the decision to open e-visa has been taken.

According to new e-visa provision, all Afghans can apply without religion-based priority. Applications will be scrutinised and decided in Delhi. A visa for six months will be given initially, while security review of the applicant will be done to check credentials. Documents required for visa will be uploaded on portal shortly.

A mayhem has been witnessing in Afghanistan after Taliban took over Kabul and president Ashraf Ghani fled the country. People have been making desperate attempts to fly out of the country. Videos on social media showed crowds running next to a US military transport plane as it taxies to take off, with some trying to desperately cling to its sides. People were also seen falling off from plane on rooftops.

Amid the worrisome situations, India and several other countries have evacuated its embassies. An Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft took off from Kabul with more than 120 Indian officials late Monday evening. Sources said that the staff was brought inside the secure areas of the airport safely.

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The Taliban have carried out a lightning sweep of the country, with government forces collapsing without the support of the US military, which is finalising its withdrawal in alignment with an August 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden.

The insurgents’ imminent takeover triggered fear and panic in Kabul among residents fearful of the group’s hardline brand of Islam, which it imposed during its 1996-2001 rule.

News18 spoke to one such woman who has been living with her husband and toddler for her treatment in Delhi since November 2020. Her eyes were gouged out by the Taliban when she was two months pregnant.

READ: ‘They Kill Us, Feed Us to Dogs’: Afghan Woman Who Was Shot, Eyes Gouged Out Says Return of Taliban Spells Doom

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Monday said the situation in Afghanistan is being monitored on a constant basis at high levels and that suspension of commercial operations at Kabul airport has forced a pause in India’s repatriation efforts.

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first published:August 17, 2021, 09:09 IST