Current track

Title

Artist

Current show

Through The Night

01:00 06:00


Hundreds of Afghans gather outside passport office in desperate bid to flee country

Written by on 06/10/2021

Chaotic scenes have broken out in Kabul after hundreds of Afghans flocked to the passport office in an effort to arrange documents to allow them to flee the country.

Taliban security officials had to beat back some members of the crowd to try to maintain order a day after it was revealed the office would open this week.

Despite officials explaining they will not resume issuing passports to Afghan citizens until Saturday, large crowds gathered on Wednesday amid apparent confusion outside the office.

Afghans gather outside the passport office after Taliban officials announced they will start issuing passports to its citizens again, following months of delays that hampered attempts by those trying to flee the country after the Taliban seized control, in Kabul, Afghanistan October 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Image: People gathered at the office after Taliban officials announced they would start issuing passports to Afghan citizens again

People were seen pressed against a large concrete barrier, trying to hand documents to an official in scenes reminiscent of the chaos at Kabul airport in the last stages of evacuation during the withdrawal of US troops.

The passport office was closed following the Taliban’s takeover and the fall of the previous government in August, which left stranded many of those desperate to flee the country.

One applicant, Mahir Rasooli, was in the crowd and said: “I have come to get a passport but, as you can see here, there are lots of problems, the system is not working.

A Taliban soldier carrying a weapon speaks to Afghans gathered outside the passport office after Taliban officials announced they will start issuing passports to its citizens again, following months of delays that hampered attempts by those trying to flee the country after the Taliban seized control, in Kabul, Afghanistan October 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Image: A Taliban soldier carrying a weapon speaks to people trying to arrange documents at the passport office

“There is no official to answer our questions here to tell us when to come. People are confused.

More on Afghanistan

“There is no job and the economic situation is not too good, so I want to have a good future for my kids.”

Ahmad Shakib Sidiqi said he wanted a passport to accompany a member of his family to neighbouring Pakistan to seek medical treatment, and added: “We have to leave Afghanistan. It is a bad situation in Afghanistan – no job, no work. It is not a good condition for us to live.”

A Taliban soldier carrying a weapon speaks to Afghans gathered outside the passport office after Taliban officials announced they will start issuing passports to its citizens again, following months of delays that hampered attempts by those trying to flee the country after the Taliban seized control, in Kabul, Afghanistan October 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Image: The passport office is not due to open until Saturday

A spokesman for the officials running the passport department did not immediately respond to requests for comment, Reuters news agency reported.

Poverty and hunger have worsened since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan, which already suffered from drought and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN said 500,000 people have been displaced in recent months and warned the number will only grow if health services, schools and the economy break down.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

Tagged as