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Saudi embassy closure causes problems for pilgrims

Saudi embassy closure causes problems for pilgrims

Sep 19, 2011 - 15:24

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The closure of the Saudi embassy in Kabul after last week's suicide attacks has created problems for Afghan Hajjinfo-icon pilgrims, visa applicants said on Monday.

On September 13, six suicide attackers stormed an under-construction building in the Abdul Haq Square and attacked the US embassy, the ISAFinfo-icon compound, National Directorate of Security (NDSinfo-icon) and other government offices.

Simultaneously, three suicide attacks took place in different parts of the capital. As many as 27 people were killed in the attacks and the subsequent clearing operation that lasted 20 hours.

Guards at the Saudi Embassy near the Abdul Haq Square told Pajhwok Afghan News that diplomatic staff, including the ambassador, left Kabul soon after the attack on Tuesday.

"About 9,000 pilgrims' visa applications are pending. We are worried if the embassy doesn't reopen soon, pilgrims will face problems," Deputy Minister of Hajj Daiul Haq Abid said.

According to officials, about 150,000 pilgrims are yet to get Saudi visas. The embassy had informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of its staff relocation to a safer area, said Faramarz Tamana, deputy spokesman for the ministry.

The ministry has been in contact with the Afghan embassy in Saudi Arabia on the reopening of the mission in Kabul, he added.



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