Drug addiction on the heels of irregular migration


PUL-E-ALAM (SW) – Logar’s Sharifullah embarked on treacherous journey of irregular migration many times to escape raging war and poverty, but eventually ended up becoming a drug addict.

In conversation with Salam Watandar, the 28-year-old said the only thing he earned in multiple trips of irregular migration to Iran was plastering cement in construction sector.

The outlook of this young man clearly portrays the hardships he went through during his journey to Iran and stay there. The last time he went to Iran was three years ago, and when he returned, he had become a drug addict. Once a normal member of the society, Sharifullah has now lost respect in people’s eye for him, and is now looked down upon.

Grimly regretting his past choice of embarking on irregular migration, Sharifullah said he went inches closer to death many times. On year on since his return, Sharifullah has been trying, but failing to quit the addiction. He strongly advises fellow Afghans, particularly youngsters never to choose irregular migration. He also demands the government to play its active role in combating the dual menace of irregular migration and drug addiction in the country.

In the meantime, director refugees and repatriation in Logar, Noor Ahmad Salihi, expressed concerns over surge in the trend of irregular migration here. He added the issue has been shared with the UNHCR, and the returnees have been provided with some support to begin new life. He said some 901 Afghans have returned from irregular migration back to Logar province in the past one year.

According to Fariha Jabakhail, adviser at the Migration Information Center, though many countries have closed their borders amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, but Afghans migrants continue to seek ways to irregularly migrate abroad. She said around 15 Afghans seek this dangerious path on daily basis.

Insecurity, poverty and lack of jobs remain among the main reasons forcing these many youngsters to risk their lives.

Earlier this month, dozens of Afghan citizens were thrown into river after being tortured by Iranian border guards. The surviving migrants told Salam Watandar that 57 migrants were thrown in river resulting in death of 23 of them. According to some of them, the Iranian border guards warned them that “either throw yourself into the river or will be killed by bullets.” Prior to the sinking, the migrants had been detained by Iranian border guards overnight, they said.

Following allegations by local Afghan officials, the Iranian government denied that Afghan citizens were tortured and drowned by border guards, saying that Iranian border guards had no role in the incident, but the Afghan investigation team led by Mohammad Hamid Tahmasi said that their findings showed that ten people died and 15 others were missing in the incident.