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India announces new visa category to fast-track entry requests amid Afghanistan crisis

India announces new visa category to fast-track entry requests amid Afghanistan crisis

Afghan people waiting to leave Kabul on Monday, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule. (AFP PHOTO.)

New Delhi: The government today announced a new category of electronic visas called "e-Emergency X-Misc Visa" to fast-track applications of Afghans who want to come to India in view of the escalating humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

"MHA reviews visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan. A new category of electronic visa called "e-Emergency X-Misc Visa" introduced to fast-track visa applications for entry into India," the spokesperson of the Union Home Ministry tweeted.

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.

Thousands of people, desperate to flee the land-locked nation, have been thronging capital Kabul's airport since Sunday, after the Taliban seized the capital. Five people died in Monday's chaos - it is not known yet whether resulting from firing by US forces or a stampede.

Earlier on Monday India has said it would "facilitate repatriation to India of those who wish to leave Afghanistan" and said Hindus and Sikhs from the country will be given priority. "The government will take all steps to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals and our interests in Afghanistan," foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told reporters.

Meanwhile, India has evacuated its ambassador and the embassy staff in Kabul and are bringing them home in a special air force flight.

The Taliban's rapid conquest of Kabul followed Joe Biden's decision to withdraw US forces after 20 years of war that he described as costing more than $1 trillion. As per a report by NDTV, the speed at which Afghan cities fell, in days rather than the months predicted by US intelligence, and fear of a Taliban crackdown on freedom of speech and human rights, especially women's rights, have triggered criticism about the US stand. In a televised address, Mr Biden said he did not regret his decision.

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TAGS:Kabul Taliban-Afghan govt india 
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