Getting a National Identity Card in Jalalabad

Nov 22, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   Uncategorized  //  1 Comment

Wait­ing for the Offi­cers to Come
A cou­ple of cousins and my aunt asked me to help them get national iden­tity cards called Tazkira for them in Jalal­abad. I wrote an appli­ca­tion for them and went to Nan­garhar Governor’s Office with them. Nor­mally, most gov­ern­ment offices should open for clients at 8:00AM and close at 4:00PM. We were there by 8:10AM expect­ing that the work­ers would be set­tled. I thought that it’s the governor’s office and it would be more orga­nized and punc­tual. My cousins live out­side Afghanistan and to their sur­prise, the governor’s office was closed. We stood in a line and within 40 min­utes there were dozens of peo­ple in the line. It was past 9:00AM and still no worker of the Tazkira depart­ment had come. There, I saw one of the big offi­cials of the governor’s office whom I’d worked with on a project. I inched my way across the crowd and said hello to him.

Why are YOU wait­ing in the line?” He said. “Do you want to go first?” I am fine with the line but where are the work­ers? I said to him. Well, that’s some­thing that I can’t help with. “Every­one who works here is a mutual friend or rel­a­tive with the gov­er­nor or another high offi­cial. If we say any­thing to them then we receive dozens of calls and com­plaints that we are not “good” friends or rel­a­tives.“
Finally, it was 9:30AM and a fancy Land Cruiser drove in. An armed guard opened the door of the car and Amir Saib, mean­ing the direc­tor, got out of the car and the guard closed the door back for him. The Amir Saib started chat­ting with his friends in front of his office. I went to Amir Saib and nicely asked him if he could help us. “Go to my deputy to fin­ish the rest of the work and bring the final papers to me for my sig­na­ture.” We went to his deputy who’d come a few min­utes before him. I came back to Amir Saib with my paper to get it signed by him. He signed it while look­ing and talk­ing with his friend. One could’ve eas­ily got­ten a prop­erty or money claim let­ter signed that time.
Pop­u­la­tion Reg­is­tra­tion Office
After get­ting get­ting the paper work fin­ished from the governor’s office, we had to go to our orig­i­nal dis­trict governor’s office in order to ver­ify and approve whether or not we really are from that area. The dis­trict gov­er­nor referred us to our local com­mu­nity elder called the Malik. When I got out of the dis­trict governor’s office there I saw a big dude. Legally, he can­not ver­ify or approve where we come from because nei­ther he knows us nor is he our Malik. The sig­nal for say­ing give me bribe and I will fin­ish your work for you right here right now was, “kAr de band dey?”, mean­ing are you stuck and need help to fin­ish it? I asked him, “how much?” What­ever you want, he said. Then I had my cousin to go his Malik in his orig­i­nal town and get the ques­tions about them answered by him. He did so and when we came back to the dis­trict governor’s office to give my cousins their national ID cards as the Malik’s sig­na­ture and stamp was the last step, no offi­cer even talked to us because we didn’t do it in their way (giv­ing them bribe and fin­ish­ing it right there right then), we did it the “long” way. We were wait­ing inside the dis­trict governor’s office com­pound. For an hour, we had to put up with this police who was star­ing at my cousin non stop. Some­times, it’s so annoy­ing when I have a female friend/relative with me and we stop some­where for a bit. Within min­utes it becomes what my Amer­i­can col­league calls “national star­ing competition”.

They were telling us that we need to come back the fol­low­ing day, etc. etc. I knew that that was how they wanted to tor­ture us for not hav­ing done what they wanted. Finally, I had to call a friend who knew some­body at the dis­trict governor’s office. He came and fin­ished our work in less than 20 min­utes. That’s how we got the national iden­tity cards and how the national star­ing com­pe­ti­tion ended.