The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed Nepali embassies in the Middle Eastern countries to stay alert in relation to the safety of Nepalis working there, amid intensified tension in the region, following the assassination of a top Irani general in Iraq by the US.
MoFA Spokesperson Bharat Raj Paudyal said the ministry had instructed the embassies to remain in contact with Nepalis living and working there and constantly update developments in the region to the ministries. Nepalis in the region have also been asked to reside in contact with concerned embassies.
While the Nepali embassy in Pakistan looks after Iran, the embassy in Kuwait looks after Iraq. Prakash Mani Paudel the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Nepali Embassy in Kuwait said THT over the phone that no complications had been reported so far.
He said very few Nepalis were in Iran, while there were more than 15,000 Nepalis in Iraq, often concentrated in Bagdad and Kurdistan regions. Although Kurdistan was not risky, Baghdad involved risks. “There has not been any complaint whatsoever so far. We, however, are on alert,” Paudel told THT over the phone.
According to MoFA Spokesperson Paudyal, the situation in Bagdad was returning to normalcy as per the embassy’s reporting. The Government of Nepal has forbidden Nepalis to work in Iraq and Iran, but Nepalis end up there by various illegal channels. Many Nepalis have been working in the US embassy as security guards and assist staffers. Others work at US military bases in Iraq and with companies providing logistics to the military bases.
There are also several Nepalis working in other embassies and local business establishments such as restaurants. Tensions flared in the region after Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s elite Quds military force head and one of the most dominant personages in the Islamic Republic was killed early Friday in an airstrike in Baghdad.