Sick Afghans Await Pakistan Visas As Consular Office Shuts in Kabul

Hundreds of Afghans – many needing urgent medical treatment – gathered on Monday near Pakistan’s embassy waiting to hear when the visa section might reopen after it indefinitely shut down its services.

The consular office in Kabul was closed over security reasons after several staff members were harassed by unknown assailants in the Afghan capital, Pakistan’s embassy announced late on Sunday.

The visa section’s closure comes amid fresh tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which last week exchanged fire in a border area.

The shutdown also highlights the reliance many Afghans have on Pakistan, where they seek the type of medical care that is unavailable or unaffordable in Afghan hospitals.

“I am in a hurry to reach Pakistan as the mother of my seven children is very ill, and I urgently need to take her to Pakistan for treatment,” Abdullah Abded, who travelled from Parwan province north of Kabul, told AFP news agency.

“I feel desperate. I may have to tell my children that their mother may die because we cannot get the visa.”

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Latest from Newsfeed; Tuesday, November 5 2019