MoFA rolls out electronic IDs, passports to Afghans in Iran

  • Date of Publication : 27/08/2020 at 10:08 GMT
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Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday officially rolled out a program to distribute electronic ID cards and machine-readable passports for Afghans living in Iran.

The ministry said in a statement Thursday morning that with ID cards and passports, Afghans in Iran will now be able to access “their rights and privileges”.

“Resolving identification and legal issues will allow Afghan citizens living in Iran to legally access education, healthcare, insurance, employment, and other official services.”

This comes after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, and the National Statistics and Information Authority of Afghanistan.

The MoU was signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab, Deputy Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Dr. Alema, and Head of the National Statistics and Information Authority Javid Rasouli, the statement read.

According to Nab, this was a crucial step towards the identification of Afghan citizens residing in Iran and legalizing their presence.

He said “the distribution of ID cards and machine-readable passports was one of the commitments made during the visit of the high-ranking Afghan government delegation headed by the Acting Foreign Minister to Iran in early May this year.”

He further added that “the signing of this MoU will facilitate the full implementation of the program” and that “the legalization of the presence of Afghans residing in Iran will be a significant step towards protecting their rights, enabling them to communicate with the Iranian authorities formally, and avail themselves of the basic services provided by the Afghan government.”

Iran is hosting about three million Afghan refugees – both documented and undocumented – and although Afghanistan and Iran have close trade ties, the refugee issue has raised concerns in the past.

Afghans refugees in Iran go back for generations as they first started fleeing to the neighboring country during the Soviet-Afghan war. Since then Afghans have crossed the border to escape the civil war, the Taliban regime and now the current war.

In 2015, Iran’s Ministry of Interior reported that the total number of Afghans in Iran could be as high as 4.5 million, which includes those who are registered by the UNHCR as refugees, visa holders, and those who entered the country illegally.

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