Afghanistan to start issuing passports again after months of delays

Afghanistan will start issuing passports to its citizens again on Tuesday, a senior official said, following months of delays that hampered attempts by those trying to flee the country after the Taliban seized control in August.

The process, which had slowed even before the Islamist militants' return to power following the withdrawal of U.S. forces, will provide applicants with documents physically identical to those issued by the previous government, the official said.

Alam Gul Haqqani, acting head of the passport office, told reporters in Kabul that between 5,000 and 6,000 passports were to be issued each day, with women being employed to process those meant for female citizens.

Interior ministry spokesman Qari Sayeed Khosti told the briefing that 25,000 applicants had reached the final stage of payment for their passports, with roughly 100,000 applications in the earlier stages of the process pending.

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