“You have to go to Tehran” – Visa Officer
Mashhad might be not the best place to apply for Afghan visa. I had to go back to Afghanistan soon as my Tajik visa was ready already and I had to rush my way to Central Asia, through the difficult Afghan’s central route.
The Afghan consulate is located near the Sevvom Isfand Square off the Imam Khomeini Boulevard in Mashhad. At 9 a.m. I arrived in the consulate, which is located in small alley in a neighbourhood. The consulate was very busy, there were many Iranians and Afghans. No other foreigners. Thus the security guards directed me to talk directly to the visa offcier through the window. The visa officer asked where I was from.
“Indonesia,” I answered.
“You have to go to Tehran!” said him. Full stop.
I was surprised. Go to Tehran? Just for an Afghan visa? Tehran is located 1000 km away from Mashhad and I didnt really want the detour. I wonder whether Indonesia was blacklisted by the Afghans as dangerous country, that its citizens had to refer to the embassy instead of applying visa in the consulate. Afghan visa is usually very easy to get without any hassle. And it was a shock for me that the visa officer refused my application.
I insisted to apply in the consulate. I told them that I had work in Afghanistan, I knew important persons in Kabul, and I even still had a valid Afghan visa. The officer then agreed to take a look at my passport, and he said he had to consult with the consul. He brought my passport in, and 10 minutes later he came out, and gave me an application form.
The consul accepted my application form.
It seemed that the consulate was quite hesistant to service non Iranians or Afghans applicants, and especially for those from the undesirable countries. A Pakistani couple was turned back and asked to get a letter from the Pakistan Consulate first before applying. The consulate was full of applicants, and I had to wait for two hours just to get the receipt. The visa, which I expected to be ready on the same day, would be picked two days after.
Afghan visa is not always to be easy, isnt it?