With Afghanistan falling into the hands of the Taliban after a bloody attack, causing chaos and uncertainty, students from the war-torn country studying in Pune are deeply concerned that most are unable to speak to their relatives at home and some look for extensions of their visas to extend their stay here.
According to the Afghan Students Association, Pune, there are about 3,000 students from the neighboring country who are pursuing their education at various institutes in the city. One of the main demands of students from Afghanistan is to extend the visas that will soon expire so that these students can remain in India until the situation in their country of origin stabilizes.
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Wali Rahman Rahmani, president of the Afghan Students Association in Pune, said on Monday that there are some 3,000 students from Afghanistan studying at various educational institutes in the city. “There are some students who can network with their families at home, but there are many other students who still cannot communicate with their parents and families,” said Mr. Rahmani.
He said the association is trying to help these students connect with their families at home. Mr. Rahmani said that there are some students whose visas will expire soon. “We urge the Indian government to extend their visas so that the situation at home improves,” Rahmani said.
In these difficult times, “we are trying to provide as much support as possible to our fellow Afghan students,” said Abba Oumar, president of the International Students Association (FISA).
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Shukrullah Ahmadi, 25, who is studying an MBA at a private university, said she had not spoken to his family in Afghanistan for the past three days, a period that has seen miraculous advances by Taliban fighters towards Kabul.
“The situation at home is terrifying and scary. We never imagined such a situation. In my hometown, Logar province, which is just 50 kilometers from Kabul, telephone and Internet services are completely closed and they cannot reach me,” he said. Ahmadi.
Al-Ahmadi, whose immediate family consists of his mother and three older brothers, had last gone to his hometown in 2018. He said the Indian government should extend visas to students whose residency will expire at the earliest once go back to Afghanistan right now it is not safe. Al-Ahmadi added: “If they go there, they will not be safe. Although they are far from their families, at least they are safe here.”
Farzana, a third-year management student at Savitribhai Phule Pune University, said she is very concerned for the safety of her family at her home.
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She Farzana added: “As the situation in the country deteriorates, I am more concerned for my family. The last time I spoke with them, I knew that they could not even withdraw money from the bank.”
Sanjay Nahar, founder and president of the NGO Sarhad said that to support Afghan students, they had started a helpline (8007066900) and urged them to contact his organization if they needed help. The Taliban invaded Kabul on Sunday after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. There were chaotic scenes at the Kabul airport as thousands of people tried to flee from country after the Taliban took control.
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