National Post (Latest Edition)

TALIBAN RESUMES ISSUING TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

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Hundreds of Afghans gathered outside a passport office in Kabul on Wednesday, a day after Taliban officials said that the country would resume issuing travel documents, ending a months-long suspension that had further diminished the already limited ability of Afghans to leave their war-torn country.

Alam Gul Haqqani, acting head of the passport office, told reporters Tuesday that up to 6,000 passports would be issued daily. The Taliban government would also

release 25,000-plus new passports that had previously been paid for, he said at a news conference.

In Wednesday’s chaotic scenes, Taliban guards beat back people trying to apply for passports in an attempt to maintain order, Reuters reported. The Taliban plans to start issuing passports on Saturday and isn’t yet taking new applicatio­ns, according to the news agency.

The passports will continue to be issued under the name of the former government, the Islamic Republic of Afghanista­n. No country has officially recognized the Taliban, which has renamed the country an Islamic Emirate, as Afghanista­n’s legitimate government.

The reopening comes as the Taliban struggles to govern a country that is facing a major brain drain. Many educated Afghans fled following the Taliban takeover of the country in August, fearing that the regime would implement its severe interpreta­tion of Islamic law.

In the past two months, the passport office received at least 170,000 applicatio­ns, local media reported.

 ?? JORGE SILVA / REUTERS ?? Afghans gather outside a passport office in Kabul after Taliban officials announced they will resume issuing passports,
following months of delays that hampered attempts by those trying to flee the country after the Taliban seized control.
JORGE SILVA / REUTERS Afghans gather outside a passport office in Kabul after Taliban officials announced they will resume issuing passports, following months of delays that hampered attempts by those trying to flee the country after the Taliban seized control.

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