An Afghan MP, who flew from Istanbul to Delhi, has said that she was deported from the airport on August 20, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. The incident came days after the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 14.
Rangina Kargar, a member of the House of the People of Afghanistan, holds a diplomatic passport that allows visa-free travel under an arrangement with the government of India. Kargar, who represents the Faryab province and has been an MP for 10 years, told The Indian Express that she has travelled to India many times on the same passport.
The 36-year-old MP said that there were no problems for her to pass through the checks at the airport earlier but on August 20, the immigration officials stopped her. Kargar said that the official told her they needed to consult their superiors.
After this, she was sent back to Istanbul via Dubai on the same airline, Fly Dubai. “They deported me, I was treated as a criminal,” Kargar told The Indian Express. “I was not given my passport in Dubai. It was given back to me only in Istanbul.”
The MP said she was given no reason for her deportation. Kargar claimed that the deportation was “probably related to the changed political situation in Kabul, maybe security”.
“It was not good what they did to me,” she told The Indian Express. “The situation has changed in Kabul and I hope the Indian government helps Afghan women.”
A day before Kargar’s deportation, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that India was focusing to maintain its relationship with Afghanistan. Two days after her deportation, India had brought back two Afghan Sikh MPs, Anarkali Kaur Honaryar and Narinder Singh Khalsa, from the conflict-torn country in an evacuation flight.
“Those flights were meant for Indians and Afghan Indians, not Afghans,” Kargar told The Indian Express.
Kargar was born in Mazar-e-Sharif town in 1985. She is not affiliated to any party and says she is a women’s rights activist, according to the newspaper.
On her deportation, Kargar said she did not expect this from Gandhi’s India. “We are always friends with India, we have strategic relations with India, we have historic relations with India,” the MP said. “But in this situation, they have treated a woman and a member of Parliament like this. They told me at the airport, “sorry, we cannot do anything for you”.”
Kargar said that she cannot return to Afghanistan as the situation has changed there and also because there were no flights to Kabul. She told the newspaper she will remain in Istanbul and wait for the Taliban to form the government and “see if they allow women to sit in Parliament”.
The MP was travelling alone to Delhi while her husband Fahim and her four children were in Istanbul. Her family had arrived in Istanbul at the end of July. Fahim Kargar is chief of staff in the House of the People of Afghanistan, or Wolesi Jirga.