“Bring us home,” says Nepali in Kabul
There are anywhere between 2,000-15,000 Nepalis in Afghanistan — most of them working for private military contractors as security guards.
But there are also others whom labour recruiters have lured to Afghanistan promising jobs, and who are undocumented with jobs as security guards.
Read also: Who will rescue Nepalis in Afghanistan?
The Nepal Embassy in New Delhi which is also accredited to Afghanistan has issued a statement asking Nepalis there to fill out form with contact details. The letter says workers should contact their recruiting agencies for flights out, even though all commercial flights to Kabul have been cancelled and only military evacuation flights are allowed.
The Embassy statement also says the Nepal government has asked foreign embassies in Kabul to facilitate the evacuation of Nepalis. This is hardly likely since those governments have their hands full taking care of their own diplomats and nationals.
One Nepali who was reached by phone said he could hear gunfire on the streets outside the room where he was hiding. He did not want to be identified, and these are his words:
"I came to Kabul along with 18 other Nepalis in January 2020 after an agent in Kathmandu assured us of jobs here. All but three of us got jobs as security guards. We had paid Rs800,000 to the recruiter, but there is no job and no income here.
A few months ago, some of us got Covid-19. We are hiding in this room, and luckily we have managed to get food to eat. I don’t know how many of us Nepalis there are here illegally, but I know of at least 150 other Nepalis in Kabul. We are all stranded.
It is quite scary here in Kabul at the moment. In fact, it is quite alarming. We can hear gunfire outside, and we heard that Taliban are on the streets. When the government troops see Talibans approaching they surrender immediately.
There is also a lot of looting going on in broad daylight. People with guns are just robbing any richer person they see on the streets. We cannot venture out.
Actually there isn’t that much of a problem for those with regular jobs as guards in security agencies. They have been assured by their employers that they will somehow be evacuated to Nepal. In fact some are leaving tonight.
But those like us who are undocumented do not have any support. We are desperate. Even our recruiting agency says it cannot take us back. We hear the Nepal government is trying to get Nepalis back. We are waiting for information. Our only hope is our own government."