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Foreigners easily get Afghan citizenship than Afghans

Foreigners easily get Afghan citizenship than Afghans

Jun 20, 2017 - 22:01

KABUL (Pajhwok): In Afghanistan where its own citizens go through a lengthy and complex process to get a National Identity Card (NIC) also known as Tazkera, some foreigners can easily obtain this document and become the Afghan citizen.

Pajhwok Afghan News in a survey found that difficulties in getting a Tazkera existed in every part of the country, especially in Kabul, Herat and Nangarhar provinces.

In Herat, some residents believe the insecure border with Iran provides an opportunity to foreigners to come to Afghanistan and make Tazkera by introducing themselves as Afghans. These foreigners after obtaining the Afghan citizenship apply for asylum in European countries.

Noor Mohammad Zarifi, a tribal elder from Shindad district, told Pajhwok Afghan News Iranians used to enter Afghanistan and obtain citizenship due to the lack of security on the border.

Naseer Ahmad, a resident of Shindad district, said getting Tazkera was an easy job as the applicant needed to bring along two or three witnesses.

“The applicant offers bribe to the district officer and finds two witnesses and obtains Tazkera no matter from which country he is.”

Syed Abdul Karim, the administrative chief of Ghoryan district, said he two persons who tried to make fake Tazkera arrested by police last year. He cited two reasons why foreigners obtained Afghan NIC --- to promote insurgency or get citizenship in European countries.

A local official, who wished to go unnamed, said some members of the Provincial Council (PC) had approved Tazkera applications for some people who were not Afghans.

But the PC rejected the allegation. PC member Mehdi Hadid said: “No foreigner has been approved by the local council as eligible for Tazkera. Some Afghans who live in Iran since a long time may be helping the Iranians in obtaining the Afghan NIC.”

Farhad Jilani, the governor’s spokesman, he could not rule out issuance of ID cards to foreigners but they had not yet received any complaints in this regard.

He said issuing Tazkera to foreigners was against the law and anybody found guilty of doing so would be punished.

The Population Registration Department Head, Khawaja Hekmatullah Habibi, said he daily handled two or three cases of fake Tazkera.  

He said: “Some people who had made duplicate stamps for fake Tazkeras were arrested and referred to the judiciary.” He said it was disappointing that some Afghans helped foreigners obtain Tazkeras.

“If an Afghan brings a foreigner and introduce him as his son or brother, then we can do nothing and should give them the Tazkera,” said Habibi.

He said distribution of electronic identity cards would help resolve fraud in Takzara issuance to a great extent.

In eastern Nangarhar province, Hafeez Pahlawan, head of the Population Registration Department, said fake Tazkeras were distributed in the past but now the issue had been overcome.

He said they introduced more strict measures for applicants who were obliged to obtain Tazkera in the presence of a family elder.

He said the authority of NIC distribution officers’ authority had been increased in Jalalabad city and districts and the move helped resolve the problem to most extent.

Pahlawan said he held meetings with NIC distribution officers in districts every month and advised them against issuing NIC in absentia.

Officials of Wadan organization in Nangarhar also said their supervision helped reduce corruption in the province’s population registration department.

Wadan has also installed a complaint box in the Population Registration Department enabling people to share their complaints with the organization.

Shamsul Haq Hashamzai, a representative of the organization, said they visited the department every week to help reduce problems there.

Noor Agha, 25, a resident of Kama district of Nangarhar, who was waiting in front of the department, told Pajhwok that he had submitted his ID card for confirmation to the department, but his ID card went missing in the department.

“I gave my ID card three weeks ago for confirmation, but the officers there told me today that my ID car has gone missing,” he said.

Agha said a number of middlemen were active fleecing applicants and creating problems for the population registration department.

Sediqullah, a resident of Sayed Karam district of southeastern Paktia province, said he along with his family had recently returned from Pakistan.

“We need ID cards for school, we are wandering around here for the last four days but no one is helping us,” he said.

Similarly, people in the capital Kabul also say they face huge problems in obtaining NIC. Large crowds of people gather in front of Kabul population registration department to correct their names, obtain NIC or just confirm their NICs are valid.

A resident of Bagrami district of Kabul, Javid getting the ID card was a difficult job. He complained about the presence of middlemen and people having connections in the office and said: “A lot of deals are done here, there are many people who have relations with officers, some people pay money in bribe to get their work done fast.”

Kabul population registration department head Hamayon Mohtat did not reject foreign nationals were issued Afghan NIC, but said there was no clear evidence to prove it.

“Our detective organs strictly watch the dangers coming from our border provinces, but we have not received any evidence to prove a foreign national is given Afghan ID card,” he added.

He said many government and non-government offices in Herat confirmed identity of a person before he was issued an ID card.

About fake NICs, he said: “There are too many fake NICs, we recover many of them on a daily basis and we have introduced many people in such cases to the judicial organs.”

A number of the population registration department officers were also among those introduced to the judicial organs, said Mohtat, adding 400 fake NICs had been seized over the past eight months.

About slowness in their work, he said too much applicants, shortage of personnel and incomplete information provided by the applicants were reasons behind the slow process.

“Around 64,000 people daily visit this department from different provinces. We have 90 workers in the center, around 6,000 people visit the office for obtaining and confirming their NICs or other related services,” Mohtat said.

He blamed people for using middlemen and relatives or following illegal ways in order to get their work finished earlier. Distribution of e-NIC would help prevent fake ID cards, he said.

Government officials earlier had said distribution of e-NIC would reduce many criminal activities. However, years have passed but the e-ID cards are yet to be distributed.