An Afghan woman walking past a Pakistani paramilitary personnel, as she along with others enter Pakistan via Friendship Gate crossing point at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman on Tuesday. (Reuters)
An Afghan woman walking past a Pakistani paramilitary personnel, as she along with others enter Pakistan via Friendship Gate crossing point at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Taliban takeover: Afghan students in Himachal seek visa extension

There are 125 Afghan students at Shimla-based Himachal Pradesh University, which happens to be the alma mater of former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai
PUBLISHED ON AUG 17, 2021 03:40 PM IST

The chaos and uncertainty in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover has left Afghan students in Himachal Pradesh a worried lot as most of them are not able to speak to their families back home and are seeking extension of their visas to prolong their stay in India till stability returns.

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There are nearly 125 such students studying on scholarship at Shimla-based Himachal Pradesh University, which happens to be the alma mater of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

Keeping a close watch

“It’s a critical situation there. Things changed so swiftly. Even the Taliban must not have anticipated this,” said Wahid Zaheer, a student of mass communication. “The Taliban may have taken over, but they are not fully in command to handle the chaos. So far, they have taken over peacefully, but we are keeping a close watch on the situation,” said Zaheer, who has been calling up his family every hour since the Kabul takeover.

Situation changing swiftly

Misabahuddin Yousufzai, a student of political science, said, “It’s not about Afghanistan alone, but the entire world is affected. Hopefully, the Taliban sticks to what it announced on forming a welfare government. I’m worried about my family. Things are changing so swiftly. We went to bed when one government was in power and woke up to another ruler in the chair,” he said.

Yousufzai said it was not clear if the India will recognise the new regime in his country. “The government should extend the visa of students otherwise we are heading for a bigger problem,” he said.

A majority of Afghan students opt to study political science at HPU. Even Karzai did post-graduation in political science from HPU in 1983. He last visited Shimla in 2006.

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