Multiple problems in immigration at Torkham
August 30, 2021
After the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the poor souls of Afghans are trying to return to their homeland, now facing various stages of immigration processing at the Torkham border, which is controlled by three different departments.
According to official sources, the verification of legal travel documents for the return of Afghans and permission to repatriate them has become a ‘controversial issue’ among staff members of three different departments, including the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Nadra, and National Logistic Cell, but recently it has also become a profitable business for them.
He claimed that returning Afghans were forced to pay a substantial price to the staff members, even through local riders, in exchange for approval to come back to Afghanistan. According to immigration officers, it is the primary duty of the FIA to carefully check and clear the travel documents of any foreigner at any border, including Torkham. He claimed that once the returning Afghan or any other foreigner was cleared by the FIA, no one else had the legal power to stop or check their certificates.
The officials said, “Unfortunately, since NLC began an operation at Torkham, there have been reports of problems about the staff preventing the Afghans who have already been cleared by immigration staff and then duly issued a token for border crossing”. They claimed that it was a clear case of exceeding legal authority because the NLC was only tasked with administering and controlling the affairs of the customs terminal and not with interfering in immigration matters. The officials, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, stated that they had recently inserted several customer complaints with NLC high-ups about its employee engagement in violating their rights.
The Nadra staff claimed that FIA officials were fully responsible for ‘robbing’ the returning Afghans because they used local peddlers to compel Afghans for paying them illegal money. According to them, Nadra provided tokens to returning Afghans after thoroughly checking their personal credentials.
The official said, “The FIA and NLC staffers’ mode of operation is that they come and take the token from Afghans right at the border crossing after they are cleared by Nadra, and then these poor souls are made to wait for a long time until the local folks reach a deal with them and finally allow them to go back after payment of an agreed amount, ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 30,000 per person”.