INDIA. Mumbai: Owing to the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan and streamlining of the visa process by the introduction of the e-Emergency X-Misc visa, it has been decided that all Afghan nationals henceforth must travel to India only on e-Visa.
Keeping in view some reports that certain passports of Afghan nationals have been misplaced, previously issued visas to all Afghan nationals, who are presently not in India, stand invalidated with immediate effect. Afghan nationals wishing to travel to India may apply for e-Visa at www.indianvisaonline.gov.in, the Union home ministry announced on Wednesday.
The decision comes days after the government introduced a new category of visa called “e-Emergency X-Misc visa” for the Afghan nationals after the Taliban captured power in that country. Officials said since Indian missions in Afghanistan are shut, the applications will be examined and processed in New Delhi. The “e-Emergency X-Misc visa” will initially be valid for six months, they said. All Afghans, irrespective of their religion, can apply for the travel document.
India has evacuated all its embassy staff and several hundred Indians staying in Afghanistan. New Delhi has also evacuated many Afghans, including two MPs, Hindus, and Sikhs who faced threats from the Taliban.
Thousands of Afghans rushed into Kabul’s main airport after the fall of the city to the Taliban, some so desperate to escape the insurgents that they held onto a US military plane as it took off and plunged to their deaths. The Taliban have already enforced their rule over the capital of five million people after a lightning advance across the country that took just over a week to dethrone the country’s Western-backed government in mid-August.
In the meanwhile, the Union External Affairs condemned the bomb blasts outside Kabul Airport in which 12 US service members and at least 60 Afghans were reportedly killed on Thursday. In a statement, the external affairs ministry said that “India strongly condemns the bomb blasts in Kabul today. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of this terrorist attack. Our thoughts and prayers also go out to the injured. Today’s attacks reinforce the need for the world to stand unitedly against terrorism and all those who provide sanctuaries to terrorists”.