After the outbreak of COVID-19, many Afghan students, like me, were forced to head back home. It's been over two years, and we are still waiting for our Indian visa approval.
I'm an Afghan national, pursuing a bachelor's in political science from Punjab University, India. I received a scholarship that allowed me to go to India and pursue my studies.
Unfortunately, nothing went as planned. I came back to Kabul and started attending online classes with the hope that one day, I will return to India to continue my studies.
Things went from bad to worse after the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021, and the Indian embassy had to shut down.
'How Do We Study Now?'
It's been over two years, and we've been stranded in Kabul. We cannot go back to India. On top of that, my university stopped taking online classes after 2021.
I feel extremely helpless now. I returned to Kabul as a first-year student. Next year, I'm supposed to graduate with a degree in political science but have hardly attended a few months of college.
'Left Our Documents in India, Now We Can't Go Back'
It's not just a story of one student. Many students who are pursuing their bachelor's, master's or even PhD, have been struggling with the same problem.
I spoke to a few other friends of mine to understand what they've been dealing with.
Saeed Sadat, a second-year student at Sharada University has been facing a similar issue. He even paid his tuition fee but cannot go back to India or attend online classes from home in Kabul.
"A few problems have come up with this uncertainty in our lives. We have never received a clear message from the Indian Government. We cannot get a job because we are waiting to get visas every day. It has been more than a year. Everything we own is in India, from our home appliances to all the investments we made there. It is very frustrating."Saeed Sadat, Student at Sharada University
Nasir Ahmed, a PhD student at Northeastern Hill University, Shillong, who completed his master's and diploma in India had also been waiting for his visa for over two years now.
"We’ve been waiting for too long. It’s been more than two years and the authorities keep telling us to wait. They neither reject nor do they accept our documents. We are living in uncertainty. Most of the students who are here, like me, have left their documents in India, we want those documents back."Nasir Ahmed, PhD student at North-Eastern Hill University
The Indian embassy needs to understand that our future depends on these degrees, we worked hard to get into these universities. This is unfair to all of us.
'Tried Every Way to Reach the Authorities'
I have tried my best to reach out to the Indian embassy, not just in Kabul but also in New Delhi via emails and letters, but nothing has happened yet.
Not just that, we also held a few protests in Kabul outside the Indian embassy with the hope that they will pay attention to our issues.
We visited the Indian embassy here in Afghanistan and shared our problems and our concerns with them. We did not receive any clear message about the visa. We have stated our demands very clearly to them.
If they cannot give us a visa from Afghanistan, they can try giving us a visa from a different country that is through a third country.
This is what a lot of countries are doing. We would want India to do the same. If not, India can start with the E-visa process, we are ready to give all documents they need. We are in dire need of a visa.
The Quint has reached out to the Ministry of External Affairs. Their response is awaited. Story would be updated once a response is received.
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