Afghan with US green card enjoys all diplomatic privileges
KABUL (Pajhwok): An employee of the Afghanistan diplomatic mission in the United States (US) has been enjoying all diplomatic facilities despite having a Permanent Resident Card (PRC), commonly called as green card, of the USA.
Faeq Wahidi, was appointed as media section in-charge at the Afghan Embassy in Washington nine months ago.
According to documents available with Pajhwok Afghan News, Wahidi receives $5,190 salary per month and $2,200 as house rent from the embassy.
A diplomatic affairs expert, who wished not to be named, said Wahidi should be given $2,000 to $2,600 salary, but should be exempted from diplomatic privileges because PRC holders were considered local employees and in no case could get diplomatic concessions.
He said Wahidi could not be fully loyal to Afghanistan because he had to take care of US interests as well. He said investing on such individuals was a futile practice.
Shahala Farid, law teacher at Kabul University, said only Afghan nationals were eligible to work in foreign missions.
She said having green card did not necessarily mean an individual was resident of that country, but it was a matter in process and his acceptance could be rejected or approved in future.
According to Shahala, hiring individuals with green cards was not a violation of diplomatic rules, but it was legal issue.
She lamented that despite President Ashraf Ghani’s pledge not to hire dual nationals in the country’s foreign diplomatic missions, the practice continued.
Earlier President Ghani, during a meeting with Afghan ambassadors in foreign countries, said individuals possessing dual nationalities would not be hired in Afghan foreign embassies.
But Wahidi rejected being a dual national and the claims in the documents were baseless and untrue.
“Copies of my passport and visa issued ahead of my trip to the US show that I am Afghan and arrive at the USA for diplomatic mission. I don’t need to apply for American nationality because I already have the permission to stay in the US,” said Faeq.
He said after completing his education in the US, he intended to return to Afghanistan and serve the country in different capacities.
He said he and his family had the permission to stay in the US before he was hired at the Afghan Embassy. He claimed diplomatic privileges were his rights like other diplomats.
“I want to stress that I am an Afghan and proud to be Afghan and I never applied for nationality of any other country. I love my country and pledge to continue to serve my country. I had earlier served as deputy spokesperson at the Presidential Palace for 10 years.”
He said obtaining foreign citizenship was a lengthy process and having a green ard it did not necessarily mean he/she would become a permanent citizen. He said one should live in the US for at least five years to get the country’s citizenship.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Shakib Mustaghni, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News they were investigating if Faeq Wahidi was a dual national.
He said Faeq would face legal action if anything wrong was proved against him. He, however, did not give details about how many green card holders are working in Afghanistan diplomatic missions abroad.
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