‘I am close to being forced out of Afghanistan’

K, an experienced journalist covering news and coverage in Afghanistan, has previously worked as a journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan, lived in Syria for a number of years, and is fluent in Spanish. She is writing this article in English, and excerpts are brought to you with the permission of her media contact:

After working a few years as a journalist in Afghanistan, I decided to remain abroad, based on my current status as a US citizen. At the same time, I began to apply for my Visa under the existing embassy policies that would not allow me to make a clear visa decision. After months of hand-wringing and three more failed appointments, I have had to give up all hopes.

But I’m still fascinated by what can be done in this case and I’m trying my best to keep the issue alive at the embassy. Fortunately, visa application times are shorter compared to 10 years ago and the lack of progress over the past years does not suggest a deliberate campaign to keep me waiting indefinitely.

The problem is that the security reviews have become lengthy and often unjustified (although, it should be noted, it has been directed at Afghan citizens, and applications from individuals in Afghanistan are being processed), and if you are from abroad and follow the embassy procedures, you’re not treated equally to US nationals. Right now, I stand on the edge of a well-known road without much hope for more than a couple of months’ stay. I wonder what I can do to obtain permission to visit my country, to reunite with my family and friends, and to remain connected to everything that is happening here.

My hopes for future visits may have been largely dashed today, but I am still hopeful that something can be done soon. Thanks for your efforts, and I will keep you informed as my story develops.

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