Today's award goes to the US State Department for this mind-boggling piece of bureaucratic stupidity. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
My reader who is trying to get his company’s former employees out of Afghanistan offers another update, and another illustration of the Kafkaesque process for getting an Afghan ally authorization to leave the country.
. . .
My reader says the State Department hotline operator’s advice was to leave Afghanistan, contact any of the neighboring country U.S. embassies, travel to that embassy, finish the interview process, get the visas, and then buy tickets and fly to the United States.
My reader replied that that step one is impossible without first having a visa, “and that the Taliban have made it clear that no Afghans like his former employee’s wife and children are allowed to leave, and that the northern border is closed to Afghan refugees. She had no answer.” ... The plight of these Afghans is now a catch-22; they can’t leave without a visa, and without a functioning embassy in the country, the U.S. government cannot issue them visas.
My reader continued, “after a long pause, she suggested I call the nearest local embassy in the area and see what they recommend. Get that? The U.S. Department of State ... is telling me that in order for him to leave Afghanistan, he must leave Afghanistan. He must cross a border where one side won’t let you leave and the other side won’t let you in, and that we should call the U.S. embassies in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan or Tajikistan and see what they recommend. She gave me the numbers, told me there is nothing more she could do, and thanked me for calling.”
There's more at the link.
It's like a bureaucratic version of a Kafka Trap: no matter what you want to do, it's not going to work, and is going to trap you in a web of circular logic that has no outcome at all except to leave you as helpless as you were when you started.
Congratulations, State Department. I daresay you've just demonstrated peak bureaucratic inertia, and peak lack of interest or caring in the very people you're supposed to be helping and serving. Just why do we continue to pay you people, anyway?