Afghan journalists’ identities falsely assumed by evacuees

KABUL (Tolo News): Journalists at a gathering in Kabul called on the caretaker government and the international community to investigate cases of people falsely assuming journalists’ identities to evacuate the country. The journalists said some institutions in Afghanistan have evacuated their employees and relatives under the name of reporters while the real reporters are stranded in the country.
According to the journalists, some institutions also issue fake ID cards and journalistic documents for people and use those documents for evacuation. “Some people have misused the name of journalists, made up fake documents and have evacuated their employees,” said Serajuddin Patan, a reporter.
“I know that a number of institutions in Kabul and in the provinces issue fake journalists documents in exchange for $100,” said Mukhtar Ibrahimi, a reporter. A number of female reporters said they are stuck in a very bad financial situation following the collapse of the former government and the shutting down of many media outlets. The reporters called on the government to provide them with opportunities to continue their jobs as reporters.
According to organizations supporting free media in Afghanistan, since August 15 over 150 media outlets have ceased operating. Frozan Khalilyar, a reporter said: “A female reporter phoned me and said if you know any institution that needs a cook or a cleaner, let me know. I am in a very bad economic situation.”
Farkhunda Mohibi, a reporter, said: “After the fall of the former government, most of the women have lost their jobs and now they face severe financial problems.” Hujatullah Mujaddadi, the deputy head of the Afghanistan Federation of Journalists, said the federation, along with the security institutions, has started an investigation into the issuance of fake documents and the evacuation of people under the name of journalists.
“We are investigating the institutions that issue fake journalistic documents and send people out of the country under the name of journalists. We are also investigating the issue of Kam Air,” said Mujaddadi. Afghan journalists voiced their concerns over the misuse of their names for evacuation as Bloomberg News reported that Kam Air, an Afghan private airline company, transferred at least 155 family members of the company’s leadership from Afghanistan to Abu Dhabi. Based on the report, the flight was intended to evacuate journalists and other qualified persons out of the country, but families of the airline’s leadership were crammed into the half-empty plane at the last moment.