KABUL (SW) – Fazal Khan, a young resident of Baghlan province resorted to irregular immigration because of insecurity and economic problems, but ultimately failed to achieve his goal.

In conversation with Salam Watandar, he said that when he graduated from the high-school, he and some of his friends and acquaintances decided to migrate towards one of the European countries in order to get out of the bad situation in Afghanistan.

Fazl Khan said that after bargaining with the smugglers, he set out for Turkey. According to him, the smugglers brought him and twenty of his companions from Baghlan to Kabul and then to Kandahar, from where they entered Pakistan.

Fazal Khan and his friends walked for eight hours in the mountains and valleys of Pakistan and eventually fell into the hands of the security forces. “When we entered one of the valleys, we were captured by the Pakistani military,” said Fazal Khan.

“They surrounded us and then beat us. Then they put us in a car and warned us that we would imprison you. They took us halfway and released us again”, he said recalling the journey.

According to him, the Pakistani security forces took all their belongings and money after which they left for Iran with empty hands. There, he and his friends stayed at home for more than three hours, but fell into the hands of the Iranian security forces, and were eventually returned to their homeland after being insulted and humiliated.

Fazal Khan says he has not yet paid the smugglers the money he borrowed for his trip. According to him, his other friends, who sold their house and car to reach Europe, are still in debt. Fazal Khan, who is currently studying economics, urges everyone to never emigrate illegally.

Commenting on this, Dr. Aalima, deputy director of the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, said the ministry is working to prevent irregular migration. According to her, most of those who resort to irregular migration with smugglers are children and adolescents.

She added that the ministry has launched public awareness programs through the media, which have yield some results. She stated that the reason for the increase in irregular migration is the lack of sufficient information among public.

Fariha Jabbarkhel, an adviser to the Immigration Information Center, said the agency, in co-operation with the European Union, has been educating Afghan citizens about the dangers and harms of irregular migration. According to her, awareness-raising programs have also been launched on irregular migration in universities, government and non-government agencies and schools.

According to the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, about 400,000 Afghan refugees from various countries have returned.

Asylum seekers who have returned to the country in recent years are living in poor conditions, despite the help of domestic and foreign institutions.

According to a new agreement, Tehran will issue residence permits to Afghan refugees and asylum seekers.


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