Afghans flood passport offices in bid to leave country

By Hamza Ameer
Kabul, Dec 21 (IANS)
As the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan continues to worsen in Afghanistan with freezing temperatures adding to the sufferings of the locals, hundreds of Afghans are flooding the passport office in Kabul in a bid to leave the country at the earliest.
A large number of people was seen standing outside the passport office in Kabul, a day after the Taliban led government announced resumption of issuance of travel documents.
Despite sub-zero temperatures, many people reached and waited throughout the night till the next morning patiently waiting in a single line. The people, who rushed to the passport office, included many who were desperate to leave the country for medical treatment, while many others wanted to flee the country to safety, away from the renewed Islamist rule of the Taliban.
The crowd was manhandled and charged by the Taliban repeatedly, who said that they did not want any terror attack or a suicide explosion to happen in the crowd.
“Our responsibility here is to protect people. But the people are not cooperating,” said Ajmal Toofan, a Taliban security personal on duty at the passport office.
It is pertinent to mention that Taliban’s principal enemy, the Islamic State (IS), has targeted such crowded gatherings and has claimed hundreds of innocent lives.
The biggest attack was outside the Kabul airport in August, when locals gathered in large number in a bid to leave the country with the foreign forces during their evacuation process.
Osman Akbari, a 60-year-old man was among the people desperately trying to reach Pakistan on medical grounds. Akbari said that wrecked hospitals in Afghanistan were not equipped enough to complete his heart surgery.
“Medica put stent in my heart. They need to be removed and its not possible here”, he said.
A number of ambulances were also present outside the passport office, carrying people who were too sick to queue with the others.
“The patient has a heart problem,” said the driver of the ambulance, adding that because the applicant has to appear in person to ensure passport is issued, the patient has been brought here.
Afghanistan is fast sinking deeper into financial, economical and humanitarian crises.
The worsening situation in the country, triggered through a complete blockage of foreign aid following the Taliban takeover which constituted at least 80 per cent of the country’s economy, locals are not only fearing the rigid Islamic rule of law of the Taliban regime, they are also fearful of the well being and upbringing of their families, who are now suffering to freezing sub-zero temperatures, lack of food, water and shelter; lack of medical facilitations at the hospitals is also forcing locals to leave the country on immediate basis.

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