KABUL (Pajhwok): Some sources say Afghanistan diplomatic mission in Bonn, Germany, has been extending passports with stickers while other Afghan embassies made arbitrary changes to renew passports and printed white passport booklets, but failed.
The current Afghan government termed these acts as illegal as long as they were not coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, saying that there was no need for printing passports elsewhere as there were enough of them available.
Following the political change in the country, contacts of some of Afghan embassies have been cut off with the new government.
This comes as Afghans living abroad need to extend their passports and other needed documents by Afghan embassies, who should operate under a single framework of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
SeyedLotfullah Sadat, Afghan Consul General in Bonn, in a letter to the Afghan missions in the European zone on January 10 said, “After political changes in the country, this mission has temporarily designed a single system for passport extension which includes security signs based on current international standards and machine readable in airports, in order to solve the problems of those citizens whose passports are expired and faced with serious problems in their residence permit.”
The letter says the system was connected with passport database and provided by the same passport management company. The letter says the system would be also installed in other Afghan missions in the European zone.
However, the letter continues there were some cases recently which showed some missions directly made changes without contacting the Afghan embassy in Bonn and the company responsible for creating passport system and printing stickers. The source says these missions used stickers for passport extension without serial numbers which can create concerns regarding security and transparency.
Without mentioning the names of the missions, the letter said that the consequences for such arbitrary actions would be for the missions involved and the Afghan mission in Bonn would not provide any technical help to them.
However, a former official of the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the stickers had been printed in Bonn and used for extension of passports, but some other Afghan missions recently tried to print white passport booklets. For instance, he mentioned Afghan missions in Turkey and Poland.
These embassies talked with passport printing companies, but so far they have not been able to print white passports and it is unclear if these companies would agree with them, the official said.
The official said it is against the law for the country’s missions to print passports without coordinating with the government.
Pajhwok shared the issue via e-mail with Afghan missions in Turkey and Poland, but none of them responded so far as of 2pm Sunday.
SayedLotfullah Sadat, Consul General of Afghanistan in Bonn, did not respond to a question whether the mission has the authority of printing and installing a passport extension sticker or not. He also did not provide details about his letter to other Afghan missions in Europe.
However, an Afghan diplomat who wished not to be named, said that the Bonn mission was responsible for printing passports and the country’s missions in Europe including Turkey were linked with the Bonn mission.
“The Bonn mission found a solution to solving people’s problems regarding their passport extension, the mission attaches a sticker and all needed information to a sheet of a person’s passport which needs extension so it would resolve his or her problem,” the diplomat said.
The source said that the letter from Bonn mission to other missions in Europe was because some of these missions planned to make their own stickers and were extending passports on written basis.
About printing of white passports by some missions, he said, “I have also heard about that, but companies who print passports are not typical companies and ordinary individuals cannot order such prints, they are very careful for security reasons. Some former officials may be able to tell such companies to print passports for them based on their contracts, or officials of the current government also can make an agreement with these companies to print passports for them.”
He said that printing white passports was not an easy job and no action has been taken on the regard so far.
Pajhwok shared the issue of passport extension with stickers and printing of passports by Afghan missions abroad with ZabihullahMujahid, the government’s spokesman.
“It is illegal and forgery. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has its own contracts and can respond to passport shortages from its own resources, the ministry currently has a lot of passports and there is no need for printing more, anyone printing passports arbitrarily uses them for fakery,” he said.
Bilal Karimi, the deputy spokesman of the government, gave a similar response, saying that no one can forge passports and anyone doing so will fail.
He added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has its own principles and criteria, and nowhere through illegal channels is anyone given a chance to print a passport.
Regarding the extension of passports through stickers, Karimi says it was not in coordination with the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and that any actions taken in violation of the principles of the ministry was an action of forgery which will not be allowed.