Taliban may have Afghan passports with Indian visas

Taliban militants may have got their hands on Afghan passports with Indian visas

The incident put New Delhi on alert and immigration officials at the international airports in India were asked to remain vigilant

Representative image. Credit: iStock Images

The Taliban militants may have got their hands on some of the passports issued by the Afghan Government affixed with the visas granted by the Embassy of India in Kabul.

After the militants entered Kabul on August 15 and President Ashraf Ghani’s government collapsed, some “groups of people” had raided the office of an agency, which the Embassy of India in the capital of Afghanistan had hired to process visa applications by the Afghans and issue them visas after its approval.

“Once the security situation deteriorated immediately after August 15, there were reports of groups of people, who had access to or who raided one of our outsourcing agencies, where the Afghan passports with Indian visas were there,” Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said.

The incident put New Delhi on alert and immigration officials at the international airports in India were asked to remain vigilant to make sure that no unwanted person could enter the country using the Indian visas affixed on Afghan passports lost in Kabul.

Read | Afghan passports with Indian visas stolen at ISI's behest

Bagchi was responding to a query on the deportation of Rangina Kargar, a member of Parliament of Afghanistan, soon after her arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi from Istanbul on August 20. She came to New Delhi to consult a physician in the national capital of India and had a ticket for returning to Istanbul on August 22. But the immigration officials deported her from the airport itself and she was sent back to Istanbul via Dubai.

“So in the light of the loss of Afghan passports containing Indian visas, our authorities were in a state of high alert. We were also moving to the e-emergency visa system,” said the MEA spokesperson. “It appears that all these could have led to some confusion which in turn led to the unfortunate incident of the denial of entry to a particular Afghan national.”

New Delhi, however, over the past few days evacuated 112 Afghans, mostly Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, including Narender Singh Khalsa and Anarkali Kour Honaryar, two members of the National Assembly of Afghanistan.

The Afghans evacuated to India had now been issued visas for six months.

“So they (Afghans) are currently coming here under the six-month visa regime. We will take it from there. That's the current plan for six months,” said Bagchi.

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