Fate of many Afghan refugees remains in limbo


KABUL (SW) – The fate of many Afghan refugees remains in limbo as they continue to struggle for legal documents to stay, work and study there.

Amrullah is one of the asylum seekers who migrated to a European country two years ago due to insecurity and lack of employment opportunities in Afghanistan. He left for Europe about two years ago without legal documents and ended up in France after enduring many difficulties during the journey.

Due to security and economic problems, Amrullah first went to Pakistan with the help of smugglers and then from there to Iran, and after passing through Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Italy and other countries, he was finally able to reach France after 7 months.

He recalled that he saw deaths of many of his companions with his own eyes in the middle of the road, and at the Bulgarian border when police unleashed dogs on migrants to stop people and intimidate them.

Although, he has been in France for a year and a half now, Amrullah has not yet been able to obtain French citizenship due to a lack of legal documents. According to Amrullah, in addition to him, a large number of Afghan asylum seekers are also waiting to learn French and receive a refugee certificate.

“It is difficult here too, there are problems with personal documents, we also have language problems. I have been here for a year and a half, but I have not been accepted as a refugee. The problems here are of many types. Whenever we reach the borders of any other country, the border guards register the migrants and the asylum seekers via their finger prints and force them to return to the places where they first registered.

This Afghan migrant is currently living with a number of other asylum seekers in a refugee camp and is not legally allowed to work. “I always say that the smuggling routes are a death trap”, he said adding up to 99% of people on these routes have died. He recounted that the troubles range from the beatings by security forces of various countries to the time when the Bulgarian police unleash dogs at migrants. “Many young people got lost or died along the way”, he sighed.

Amrullah called on other young people not to pay smugglers to reach European countries and instead start a small business in their own country with the same money.

Obaidullah Marhouni, director of immigration and returnees in Paktia province, said efforts were under way to ensure the safe return of asylum seekers. He said the Paktia Immigration Department and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are assisting returnees.

“These people (migrants) may not reach their destination countries, and even if they do, they will be sent back to Afghanistan,” said Marhouni adding that was why the government has launched public awareness programs through partner institutions. “These programs inform people not to follow the path of irregular migration.”

Ishaq Afghan, head of the International Organization for Migration in the southeastern region, told Salam Watandar that those who want to return voluntarily are provided with job opportunities. Afghan added that financial assistance of up to EUR 3,000 will be provided to returnees if they have a plan and intention to work in Afghanistan.

“Statistics from our databases at the Spin Boldak border in Kandahar, Farah, Herat, Balkh and Nangarhar show that an average of 500 people return to Afghanistan daily from Iran and Pakistan, most of whom are returning migrants from Iran. We do not know how many people are leaving Afghanistan. Because; they are leaving Afghanistan irregularly”, he said.

Various reports have proven that most young people leave the country due to security and economic problems. Many of these young people are in very poor conditions in refugee camps for several years, and only a small number of them manage to obtain asylum and the rest are deported.