New Delhi: No visa will be required by Afghan origin Hindus and Sikhs citizens living in India to travel to Afghanistan as the country has granted long-term permits and national identification cards even if the citizens have taken an Indian passport.
"Under this scheme, Afghanistani Hindu and Sikh citizens can travel to Afghanistan on special travel documents. I also extended the embassy’s full support to the Afghans living in India in this regard", Tahir Qadiry, Chief of the mission, Afghan Embassy, Delhi.
Explaining, "This is part of the Afghan government’s plan to acknowledge special status of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs."
In the past only one month long, single entry permits were granted to Afghan-origin Hindus and Sikhs. Now, the permit will last as long as the validity of the passport, so if the passport is valid for 10 years, the permit will be valid for 10 years.
The process to grant permits was started on November 19 at Khalsa Diwan Gurdwara, Tilak Nagar in Delhi and ended on 13 December. Some 3,500 Afghans and Afghan-origin Hindus and Sikhs benefitted from the initiative taken by the Afghanistan government.
The process of granting the special permit and national identity card or 'Tazkera' was done by an ad hoc team of Afghan National statistics and information authority under a special decree by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.