AN AFGHAN student who was offered a scholarship by the UK government to study here has been told he will not be able to take up his place.

Naimatullah Zafary was set to start his Masters degree at the University of Sussex next month.

But the Foreign Office has said the situation in Afghanistan means the British Embassy in Kabul will not finish its preparations in time.

It comes as the Taliban continues to seized control of the capital following the withdrawal of US and other foreign troops after 20 years of military operations.

Mr Zafary is one of dozens of students in the country who were granted a Chevening Scholarship – an award offered to promising students from across the world allowing them to pursue a master’s degree in the UK.

The students have been told they will now have to wait until autumn 2022 before they can begin their studies.

Mr Zafary told the BBC that students had been crying and some had panic attacks when they met with UK embassy staff to discuss the deferral of their places.

He said: "I cannot sleep. When we really need it, you are taking it away."

The 35-year-old told the broadcaster that he had applied four years running before finally getting accepted on the scholarship programme to study governance, development and public policy at the university in Falmer.

He said: "I have seen the gap between the government and the people, when the government has to be a bridge but it turned out to be a concrete wall.

"When they said it will be paused for the next year, I don't believe it. If you cannot make it this year, how can you make it next year?

"Every day, every second in this country is unpredictable."

More than 30 of the 35 students with places this year have resigned from their jobs in Afghanistan and some declined promotions, according to the BBC.

Mr Zafary said he is concerned that scholarship students could be targeted by the Taliban as they seek to limit educational opportunities.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "I'm at risk, everyone is at risk. We're looking at the future of Afghanistan and the development of Afghanistan and you have seen, they have targeted those who are looking at the future of the country."

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