Residents of the north-eastern Takhar province complained of lengthy processing time for passport distribution, claiming that it was hard to obtain passport without having connections with the local Taliban passport authorities or without paying a huge sum of money.
Local Taliban authorities denied corruption in the department but confirmed some might have interfered in the process.
Zia Rustaqi (not his real name), who could not obtain passport despite repeated attempts over the past 18 months, said that he could obtain a passport for one of his relatives after paying $2,000 as a commission to an agent.
“I have come here to get passport but they tell us that the passports [distribution] is stopped. An agent found telling me that he could provide a hospital certificate to earn the passport. But he charges 2,000 dollars,” he told KabulNow.
He further claimed that the agents could each day obtain five passports by forging hospital certificates – documents required for urgent applicants who needs treatment abroad.
With the Taliban recapture of Afghanistan, the demand for passports has increased unprecedentedly among the people who seek to leave Afghanistan either for employment opportunities or for a better life in other countries.
In October 2022, the Taliban stopped distributing passports for technical problems.
In March 2023, the passport distribution was resumed across the country. The passports are still distributed under the name of the toppled Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its emblem.
Ali Akbar, another passport applicant in Taloqan, capital of Takhar, also complained of irregularities in passport distribution within the province’s passport department.
Meanwhile, Sayed Aminullah Saeed, head of the Taliban’s passport department in Takhar, claimed that the group had largely constrained circumstances for agents to have passports issued on commission.
“Connections, including for the Taliban, are not accepted,” he added, admitting that some agents might have still used urgent cases to get commissions from those needed passports urgently.
Same complaints have been made by residents of other provinces over the distribution of passports.