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'Stolen passports' in Afghanistan prompted government to introduce e-visas, say sources

By Saurabh Trivedi | Updated: Aug 26, 2021 21:11 IST


New Delhi [India], August 26 (ANI): Over 11,000 visas issued by the Indian embassy in Afghanistan between August 12 and 14 have been cancelled after over 1,000 visas were reportedly stolen, prompting the Centre to introduce e-Visas after the fall of Kabul.
Till date, around 300 e-visas have been issued to Afghan nationals.
A senior official said that the intelligence agencies anticipated that the stolen visas could be misused amid chaos in the neighbouring country.
The officer said, "As Taliban was approaching Kabul, the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan witnessed a surge in visa applications and around 11,000 stamp visas were approved."
Taliban took over of Kabul on August 15 and during the meeting that was called after the developments in Afghanistan, the possibility of some anti-India elements misusing the pre-issued visas and/or the stolen passports to gain entry into the country came up.
On August 17, union home ministry ordered the cancellation of all stamped visas and people have to apply for e-visas to enter India. All concerned holders were informed about the development.
The official further added that Afghanistan falls under the Prior Reference Category (PRC) list which mandates that every visa application has to go through a background check on an individual applicant.
"It is a time-bound process to clear the application in the shortest time. In the process of issuing e-visas there was intense scrutiny of all applications by all concerned security agencies before giving visa approval," he added.
"In the case of stamp visa, the verification is a big issue and going through the present situation in Afghanistan lapses could pose threat to national security," the official said. (ANI)

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