NEW DELHI: Various Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are making efforts to help out their students from Afghanistan who are currently stuck there following the capture of power by Taliban.
India on Tuesday announced that it will issue an emergency e-visa to Afghan nationals who want to come to the country in view of the prevailing situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban captured power there.
“In this hour of crisis, IIT Delhi stands in solidarity with our students and alumni from Afghanistan. We are doing everything possible to get the students to return to the campus. Let’s give them hope,” said IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao.
The institute has also announced helpline numbers for its Afghan students and alumni.
Currently, 17 Afghan students are enrolled in various programmes at IIT Delhi and only one of them is in Delhi as the classes were being conducted online in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are in touch with them and trying to provide all support. Unfortunately, till the visas are sorted we cannot get them here but we are providing them with all the documentation needed so as soon as the situation improves a bit and the embassy is functional, their visas can be expedited,” Naveen Garg, Dean of International Affairs at IIT Delhi, told PTI.
“We are also opening admission process for prospective candidates from Afghanistan who can come to India provided they meet our criteria,” he added.
Three Afghan students enrolled at IIT Madras are also stuck there.
“Three of our students are currently stuck in Afghanistan and the Office of Global Engagement at IIT Madras has issued letters to help them apply for a visa. The students had informed us that the situation is difficult with long queues at the consulate. Once they obtain their visas there is a further hurdle of getting passage to India by air. Reports from the airport there and news on commercial air travel have not been encouraging,” an IIT Madras spokesperson told PTI.
“In the event that students are unable to come to the campus, we will offer them opportunities to continue their programs online with added support as needed from faculty to ensure that they are able to keep up with the pace despite disruptions.
However, it is our hope that the situation will stabilise and the students will be able to further their education at the best institutes in India in person,” he added.
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay has also allowed Afghan students to return to its campus.
Several students enrolled at IIT Bombay were requesting the institute to approve their return.
“We offered admission to quite a few students from Afghanistan in the master’s program this year under scholarships from ICCR. Because of online instructions, they were participating in the class from home. However, due to rapidly deteriorating condition in their homeland, they wanted to come out of their country and join the hostels on campus,” said IIT Bombay Director Subhasis Chaudhuri.
Officials at IIT Guwahati said there are no Afghan students currently enrolled at the institute but they look forward to welcoming them in next batch.
“While IIT Guwahati currently does not have any Afghan students, we are happy to welcome Afghan students who may qualify for courses in our institute in the upcoming batches,” an institute spokesperson said.
India on Tuesday brought back home the Indian ambassador and its staff at the embassy in Kabul in a heavy-lift military transport aircraft in view of the deteriorating security situation in the Afghan capital, two days after its take over by the Taliban.
The US military had taken control of the security at the airport on Monday after thousands of desperate people converged there in the hope of getting on an evacuation flight and leave the country.
Hours after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday, the Taliban took control of Kabul, capturing power nearly 20 years after a US-led military invasion ousted it in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.