Nepal struggles to evacuate its nationals from Afghanistan

Days after the fall of Kabul, the Nepal government has been struggling to evacuate its nationals stuck in Afghanistan as the country lacks diplomatic channels and contacts there

Aug 17, 2021
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Afghanistan (File)

Days after the fall of Kabul, the Nepal government has been struggling to evacuate its nationals stuck in Afghanistan as the country lacks diplomatic channels and contacts there. Complicating the problem even further is the fact that the government is clueless about the number of these people. 

The government on Monday formed a task force, headed by a joint secretary, after holding a cabinet meeting on the issue. The government said they “would do all it requires” to evacuate Nepalis from Afghanistan. On Tuesday, 119 Nepalis, working in Afghanistan, reached Kathmandu via Kuwait. 

Most of them who were working in foreign embassies there are reportedly safe. And, the Nepal government has been contacting these embassies they have been working in for the safe evacuation of the people. 

Officials have asked relatives of these people in Nepal to provide information to the government thereafter they will send a flight for their evacuation. Nepal doesn’t have any diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. Earlier, it used to use its embassy in Delhi to deal with the Afghan government, according to a report in The Kathmandu Post.

However, the Afghan Embassy in Delhi won’t be useful for now after the collapse of their government. Nepalese officials have no channel with the Taliban. 

“We have to know the number first and the status of Nepalis before sending evacuation flights,” Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, joint secretary at the Civil Aviation Ministry, was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post.

“We are coordinating with all ministries and diplomatic agencies for a safe evacuation of Nepalis,” he added.

Officials believe, based on the number of foreign employment permits, there could be more than 8,000 Nepalis stuck in Afghanistan. Despite, the challenging security atmosphere, the war-torn country was a popular destination for some due to relatively high-paying jobs there. 

Over 500 hundred, who had been working in the US Embassy there, have been evacuated by US authorities, and are on their way back to Kabul. 

(SAM)