KABUL (Pajhwok): Some people used fake documents to prove their association with a particular media outlet in Afghanistan to flee the country, Pajhwok Afghan News reliably learned.
The trend of fake documentation to show a particular individual worked in a designated media outlet in Afghanistan accelerated after the US launched evacuation process of Afghans.
After the fall of Ashraf Ghani government on August 15, thousands of Afghans stormed the Kabul Airport in a quest to flee to a foreign country.
It is worth mentioning that so far over 110,000 people have been evacuated and the process is underway.
Insecurity, poverty, loss of job, uncertain future for girls and women and some other reasons prompted a number of Afghans to flee the country in the US-led evacuation process.
Pajhwok Afghan News has learned that some media outlets and civil society organizations in Afghanistan have started offering fake documents — employment card, HR letter, experience letter, recommendation letter and other relevant documents and even they are campaigning to provide fake documents in social media pages.
Individuals who get fake documents
Iqbal Mohammad, the resident of KhairKhana locality, told Pajhwok Afghan News one of his friends who never worked for any media outlet and was never a reporter managed to get migration documents of Canada.
He said EmalHamraz is his close friend who managed to obtain fake documents of journalism from his friend who worked in a media outlet against $6,000.
Iqbal said his friend did not say from which media outlets he obtained fake documents but added the media outlet is not local but a foreign.
His friend told him: “Not only me but more people got fake documents against money from the same media outlet.”
Umar Malak in his facebook group ‘Afghan Bazaar’ wrote: “Individuals who want guaranteed journalistic documents shall send a message.”
Pajhwok Afghan News reporter reached to Umar Malak through messenger who said that during three days he can prepare employment card, and other necessary journalism documents against $200.
Initially he asked Pajhwok reporter about educational background and added: “We can arrange documents for you, we in cooperation with the Zan TV will prepare your documents that would include employment card, HR letter, contact letter and two years letter of experience.”
Umar demanded photographs, name and Tazkera for preparing the documents.
“When you get your documents and check them then at the end we take the amount. You may please come, check the documents if you liked them then make the payment. If you don’t like them we will burn them all in front of you and will protect your identity,” Umar told Pajhwok reporter.
When asked about the location where the documents shall be presented, he said: “Any place you want we can come, since you are female we cannot show the location of our office because illegal activities could be exposed, you know better the consequences. You shall come in person and get your documents.”
Zan TV chief’s response
Hamid Samar, head of Zan TV, said he was currently in the US. Through WhatsApp he told Pajhwok Afghan News: “Unfortunately there are some opportunists who introduce themselves as employee of Zan TV, adding that in Zan TV office, three female and four men are currently working in its Kabul office. No other employees of our TV are in Afghanistan. Few months earlier, someone introduced himself as employee of Zan TV but I was contacted and we know that person never worked for our TV.”
Ahmad Zia Ameeri, a facebook user, shared a video clip showing: “Sale, Sale, Sale. For individuals interested in going abroad, for others we charge $200 but you can get our assistances for $150 to go to abroad.”
A facebook group titled ‘Preparing documents for journalists and civil society activists’ wrote: “Preparing authentic documents of being a civil society activist and for those who want to go abroad.”
Mobile Numbers 0780994414 – 078029484 are shared and said: “For more information please contact us or leave message on WhatsApp.”
Pajhwok Afghan News reporter tried to contact the two numbers, but failed.
Meanwhile, in an audio clip which contains a phone conversation between two people, one of the parties says, “Dear brother; I have letter from UN, that was the reason I am a civil society activist which the UN has verified, unfortunately I have no documents from UN, so I wanted if you can help and how can I make it; because I have the letter from UN and it is legal.”
In response, another person says, “Hello brother, how are you?…, there is no problem, we can make documents for you. Journalism documents cannot be made now, but it is possible later, but it cannot be original.”
“We previously had a contract with Khurshid TV, but that process has now stopped and can no longer make original documents, those who say that they make original documents, they lie, they are all fake,” he continued.
He said, “We can make original documents for civil society activists by the institution which we have a contract with. The institute is active for years, it has license from the Ministry of Justice from the previous government, we make a hundred percent real documents.”
The person continued to say that women were prioritized in providing them with journalism documents, but documents for civil society activists were for all. Civil society activists have a higher role than journalists, if you demand the documents, it is available for $150, he said.
Some people misuse the title of media: Khurshid TV
SayedAnis Sadat, director of Khurshid TV, talking to Pajhwok Afghan News, said, “Unfortunately the issue of fake documents is becoming a serious matter and there are people who misuse the title of media. But it is totally a lie that anyone had a contract with Khurshid TV.”
“We are not a media to sell our value for little money, these are all rumors and lies, our media never do such a thing,” he said.
He said that they would investigate the issue and asked for punishment of those misusing the title of media.
Former govt. officials behind fake documents for their relatives: Source
An employee of an embassy who wished to go unnamed, said, “I know a large number of journalists who stay in Afghanistan; but hundreds of other people traveled abroad in the name of journalists using fake documents, one of my relative is an example who did not study journalism and did not work with media; but former defense ministry spokesman, FawadAman, made cards for two shopkeepers who are now in the US.”
He said that a lot of fakery was involved in making documents for people trying to go abroad. Associations of journalists are also involved in this, he added.
“Many people used their relations, even local radio stations which broadcast on the rural area are misused for this. These media outlets provided HR letters as well as ID cards for their relatives and friends to help them escape. Most of government officials who had relations with media referred to media such as journalists associations, including Nai office, for HR letter,” the source said.
He said that 50 percent of real journalists still stayed in the country.
Nai has not provided documents to people: Khilwatgar
MujibKhilwatgar, head of Nai office in Kabul, a telephone contact told Pajhwok, “Nai did not provide any document to anyone. Nai is committed to values of freedom of expression and media and would never violate these values… any such claims are lies and we reject them.”
However, Afghanistan Journalists Council, in a statement said, “We will closely follow this issue and we are in contact with relevant sources to identify the main criminals and bring them to justice. For the peace of mind of journalists, people who are taken to Qatar are under investigation and they would be returned to the country after the process completed.”
The statement asked the Afghan government, Qatar and Interpol to discharge their responsibilities on the regard.
This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP and Denmark.