Every Afghan citizen has right to a passport, says Taliban official

But official says Taliban was working hard to provide jobs to Afghans ‘so they don’t need to leave’

Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 21 October 2021 13:42
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Related video: Taliban strike journalists at Kabul women’s rights protest

A senior Taliban official has said that each Afghan citizen is entitled to a passport.

Alam Gul Haqqani, the acting head of Afghanistan’s passport office, said the Taliban would issue passports to everyone who applied but it would prioritise those seeking medical treatment outside the country, sportspersons and students wanting to study abroad.

On 5 October, Mr Haqqani had said that between 5,000 to 6,000 passports would be issued each day as Afghanistan got ready to issue the documents after many months of delays. These delays hindered many who wanted to go abroad, including those trying flee Taliban rule after the militant organisation seized control of Afghanistan in August.

So far, the Taliban has issued around 46,000 airports, Mr Haqqani told BBC News in a recent interview.

When asked about the backlog and reports that hundreds of people with documents had queued up outside the passport office in Kabul, the Taliban official said: “The crowd was in the first two to three days. Since then, we have put the system in place. We are very organised and people come to our office and it’s not crowded anymore.

“Hopefully in the next 20 days, the whole issue of people waiting will be solved and we will issue passports,” he said.

The official added that “every citizen of this country” has the right to apply for a passport. “We will issue passports to everybody who wants to go abroad.”

But, he added that the Taliban was working hard to provide jobs to the people of Afghanistan “so they don’t need to leave” the country. “We do not trap anyone. We do not stop anyone from leaving,” Mr Haqqani added.

Mr Haqqani emphasised that Afghans shouldn’t be scared and said: “People from the previous government are welcome to apply for passports.

“No male employee has the right to perform a biometric [check] or other passport work on a woman,” Mr Haqqani had said on 5 October. The passport office had employed women to perform checks on women applicants.

As of early October, around 25,000 applicants had reached the final stage in the process of getting their passports, while roughly 100,000 applications were in the earlier stages, according to Qari Sayeed Khosti, the interior ministry spokesperson.

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