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Hundreds Gather Outside Kabul Passport Office On Day Of Reopening

Afghans gather outside the passport office in Kabul on October 6 after Taliban officials announced they will start issuing passports to its citizens again.

Hundreds of people have gathered outside the passport office in Kabul to apply for travel documents after the service opened for the first time since the Taliban seized power in mid-August.

The day before, the Taliban's Interior Ministry announced that all staff -- including female employees -- had been asked to return to their offices as the new government tries to kick-start the country's flailing infrastructure.

Taliban security guards reportedly beat some people to prevent crowds and chaos.

Taliban officials say the distribution of passports will begin on October 9.

Many Afghans who worked for U.S. and allied forces following the 2001 invasion fear the Taliban will take revenge if they find them, so they are desperate to flee.

The head of the passport office, Alam Gul Haqqani, said staff were being paid and separate offices had been established for women and men in accordance with the Taliban's view of Islamic law.

Haqqani said the office was able to issue about 6,000 passports a day.

Meanwhile, a sixth passenger flight carrying more than 300 passengers left Kabul airport for Doha on October 6, a senior Qatari government official said.

It was the largest such Qatari flight since U.S.-led international forces completed their military evacuation at the end of August.

Qatari officials said the evacuees included Afghan journalists, Afghanistan's cricket team, as well as citizens from Germany, Japan, Belgium, Ireland, Britain, Finland, France, Italy, Sweden, and Canada, according to a statement by the Qatari official.

With reporting by AFP and dpa
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