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‘Please help us’: Fearing for safety, stranded Kashmiris in Kabul send SOS to Delhi for evacuation

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SRINAGAR: Fearing for their safety, stranded Kashmiri professors in Kabul have sent an SOS to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to evacuate them at the earliest.

Dr. Muhammad Asif Shah, a 31-year-old professor of economics at Bakhtar University, has released a 1.56-minute video appealing to the government of India to help them to fly out of Kabul.

 

Besides Dr. Shah, Dr. Adil Rasool and his wife are also stranded in Kabul.

“We are outside the Hamid Karzai Airport…We are here since midnight. There is no official who can take us to the airport. We are 280 people stranded here. Heavy firing is going on. We are not able to make a decision about what to do. There is no communication. Everybody is blank and clueless,” he said.

A Ph.D. from Chennai, Dr. Asif was teaching economics at Bangalore before he was hired by Bakhtar University. “He has been working as a professor for three years in Kabul now. He is residing in the hostel on the campus,” Syed Shabeena Qadri, wife of Dr. Asif, told The Kashmir Monitor.

Dr. Asif requested the Indian embassy in Kabul to take note of their plight and make arrangements for their early evacuation.

“Every country has its own security official at the airport. We request you to take note of our plight Tens of thousands are marching towards the airport. It is next to impossible to enter the airport without the support of the government. We request the government to help us in tough times,” he said.

After the second COVID wave, Dr. Asif had returned to Kashmir and spent one and half months at home. “Last month the university decided to start classwork. Therefore he returned to Kabul,” she said.

The worried family has requested the government to bring him back from Kabul. “Jammu and Kashmir Students’ Association (JKSA) called us up and assured full help. PCR Kulgam too called up and took all the details. We hope for the best,” said Shabeena.

Nasir Khuehami, spokesperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Students’ Association (JKSA) said they (stranded Indians) have been brought to the airport by a local contractor. “They paid him to just drop at the airport gate,” he said.

Last week, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha spoke to Minister of State for Foreign Affairs V Muraleedharan for the immediate evacuation of professors from Kabul.

“He has assured the government is committed to bringing back every Citizen safely as soon as possible. I assure the families of Prof Asif and Prof Adil Rasool that they are safe and will be home soon,” Sinha tweeted.