Taliban passport office swamped as people queue for days amid travel document rush

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Taliban’s passport office in Kabul is overwhelmed as unprecedented numbers of people from the capital and other provinces seek travel documents.

In the past 10 days, the Taliban resumed normal passport distribution, causing severe congestion. Citizens report spending nights in queues outside the office.

Naser Hussain, a Kabul resident, said, “I came on Thursday, but the office was closed. Now, it’s still not my turn.”

Applicants, including women, children, and the elderly, face long waits. Gulbakht from Mazar-i-Sharif said, “I’ve been waiting since morning for my children’s passports.”

Shir Ali, another Kabul local, added, “We’ve been here since 9 a.m., and my wife is inside the office.”

The Taliban’s closure of routes to the office, using Humvees, has further complicated access. Many claim entry to the area is restricted, especially affecting women.

Nigah, a Kabul resident, said, “They closed the roads. It’s crowded and chaotic, and women hardly get a turn.”

This demand spike follows reports from April 2023 about three million Afghan passports stored in Lithuania, with delivery processes coordinated by the European Union and the U.S. Department of State.