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Politicians slam decision to withdraw scholarships for Afghan students

Liddington called the move “morally wrong,” while Stewart said it was “deeply disappointing”, according to Arab News report…reports Asian Lite News.

The UK lawmakers and politicians have condemned the decision taken by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to withdraw university scholarship places to Afghan students in light of the crisis enveloping the country.

About 35 people, just under half of whom are women, will no longer have visas approved for the Chevening Scholarships program this year, with the FCO insisting that the places will be deferred for a year with a view to “reinstating the program as soon as possible”, the Arab News reported.

In a letter sent to the prospective Afghan Chevening scholars, the FCO said: “Current circumstances mean that the British Embassy in Kabul is unable to administer the parts of the program that must be done in Kabul in time for candidates to begin their courses this year.”

David Liddington, a key ally of former Prime Minister Theresa May, and Rory Stewart, the former international development secretary, condemned the decision and urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to intervene on behalf of the students.

Liddington called the move “morally wrong,” while Stewart said it was “deeply disappointing”, according to Arab News report.

Liddington also said that the students in question would be “at particular risk from the Taliban” given their desire to seek an education in the UK.

Meanwhile, over 60 countries including the US, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Canada on Sunday (local time) urged “all parties” to safeguard the departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the war-torn country, and said that roads, airports and border crossing must remain open.

The joint statement released by the US Department of State comes after the Taliban entered Afghanistan’s capital Kabul and seized control of the presidential palace.

“Those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility — and accountability — for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order,” read the statement released on late Sunday.

Asserting that Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity, the statement said that the international community stand ready to assist them.

“Given the deteriorating security situation, we support, are working to secure, and call on all parties to respect and facilitate, the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country,” the statement added. (ANI)

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