Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Newsline: U.S. Diplomats Shredded Sudanese Passports and Stranded Locals

In the frantic days before American diplomats evacuated their Khartoum embassy under darkness by helicopter last month, one crucial task remained. Armed with shredders, sledgehammers and gasoline, American officials, following government protocols, destroyed classified documents and sensitive equipment, officials and eyewitnesses said. By the time Chinook helicopters carrying commandos landed beside the embassy just after midnight on April 23, sacks of shredded paper lined the embassy’s four floors. But the piles also contained paperwork precious to Sudanese citizens — their passports. Many had left them at the embassy days earlier, to apply for American visas. Some belonged to local staff members. As the embassy evacuated, officials who feared the passports, along with other important papers, might fall into the wrong hands reduced them to confetti. (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/19/world/africa/sudan-us-embassy-passports.html) A month later, many of those Sudanese are stranded in the war zone, unable to get out. It wasn’t only the Americans: Many other countries also stranded Sudanese visa applicants when their diplomats evacuated, a source of furious recriminations from Sudanese on social media. But most of those countries did not destroy the passports, instead leaving them locked inside shuttered embassies — inaccessible, but not gone forever. Of eight other countries that answered questions about the evacuation, only France said it had also destroyed the passports of visa applicants on security grounds.

No comments yet»

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: