KATHMANDU, June 28: Despite last week's fatal Taliban attack on Nepali security guards in Kabul, over 100 of them who are now in Nepal on leave want to return to Afghanistan without delay.
The government has banned Afghanistan as an employment destination for Nepalis following the killing of 13 Nepali security guards at the Canadian embassy there last week.
The security guards who had come back to Nepal on leave before last week's attack, have strongly protested the government decision and demanded that they should be allowed to return to their jobs in Kabul.
A cabinet meeting on Thursday banned Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Iraq as employment destinations for Nepalis. However, the migrant workers have termed that a hasty decision taken without any proper study of the various aspects and the possible implications.
They feel that working in Afghanistan is safe enough despite the recurring incidents of violent attack and bombings in various parts of Kabul.
Mugardhan Rai, 48, of Khotang district who is currently residing in Gothatar said, “The ban is not a right decision as there are many ways of reaching Kabul and it would be wiser to systematize the issue of work permits, bearing in mind the security aspects.”
Rai, who used to be in the Indian army, said there was no point barring them from Kabul as they needed the work and they operate within tight boundaries.
“I know that Nepali security guards are targetted but as I work within enclosed spaces I can accept the security risk,” said Rai, who was on a 40-day home leave and was all set to fly out on Monday.
Like Rai, Arjun Magar, 31, of Ramechap district, who was also preparing to fly back to Kabul after home leave, claimed that his duty station was in a safe area in the 'green zone'. “Around 400 Nepali security guards are currently home on leave and a majority of them want to return to their respective jobs in Kabul,” he said.
The former Nepal Army serviceman who was also on 40-day home leave from his job at the high-security Green Village Restaurant, said, “It would be unjust to the hundreds of migrant workers and their dependent families if the government sticks to its ban decision.”
The two, along with hundreds of others on home leave, have denounced the government's latest move and said they will raise their voice if they were stopped from going.
The immigration department had stopped the migrant workers from going back to Kabul, citing the government's ban decision.
Minister says Nepalis will be allowed to go but at their own risk Considering the complexities regarding the government's recent decision, the Ministry of Labor and Employment has intensified preparations to allow those now here on leave to return, but at their own risk.
Labor Minister Dipak Bohara said, “If any Nepali security guards wish to return to Kabul at their own risk, we will allow them to do so after completing the paper work.” But this didn't mean that they were withdrawing the ban on Afghanistan, he said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor is also preparing to send a government team to Afghanistan to study the status of Nepalis working there and facilitate the return of anyone wishing to do so.
The government assumes that over 20,000 Nepalis are working in Afghanistan, a majority of them illegally, after having reached there via illegal channels.