KABUL (SW) – Every year, many young Afghans who are unable to find work in their own country endure mindboggling hardships to embark on irregular migration with great difficulties.

Over the past many weeks, despite border restrictions, human smugglers continued with the irregular immigration of such migrants to European countries.

Mahmoud (pseudonym) is one such young man who irregularly traveled to Europe via Iran and Turkey to escape poverty and unemployment, but it was not long before he returned to Afghanistan again.

Recalling the treacherous journey, he said the Iranian police never hesitated in thrashing the migrants.

Mahmoud narrated the bitter and shocking accounts of what he and other asylum seekers endured to reach European countries. From the inhuman treatment towards them by smugglers to police violence against asylum seekers.

“I was in Iran for three days and we were completely under-ground so that the police would not arrest us, and we went from Mashhad to Tehran in a bus with the smuggler, we stayed there for a few hours and waited for next moves”, he said. He added the smugglers secretly took them out one night and moved across the border to Turkey. “We were handed over to another smuggler.”

Mahmoud said that after staying in Turkey for a few days, he and his companions left for Greece: “We stayed in Turkey for a few days to find other families and boarded a ship. We waited overnight for the Turkish naval patrol to get over and then headed for Greece. Before we arrived in Greece, the UN officials came and took us by sea and we were registered by the UN, and then we traveled on ward to Germany. When I arrived in Germany, there was no work and I was unemployed for a year and the money they paid us was not enough.”

Mahmoud said he spent some time in exile in Germany and then returned to Afghanistan voluntarily. Now depressed, he continues to live his life in despair.

Sayed Abdul Basit Ansari, an adviser to the Ministry of Refugees and Returnees on irregular immigration, told Salam Watandar that the ministry, in cooperation with other institutions, has launched awareness programs to prevent irregular immigration.

He added that after informing the people on this issue, the number of new Afghan refugees in Europe has decreased from 55,000 in 2018 to 33,000 in 2019.

Kazem Elham, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, said the agency was working with the Ministry of Refugees and Returnees to provide work for asylum seekers returning to Afghanistan.

As one of the worst affected country, Afghanistan sees thousands of its citizens risking their lives in quest for a better and secure life abroad.

Say no to irregular migration!

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