Irregular migration; a gamble for life and death

MAIMANA (SW) – Afghanistan remains among leading countries whose citizens continue to migrate regularly and irregularly in a large number for various reasons.

Among these migrants, some long for a better life conditions, others simply want to escape the deadly war. With the surging war and insecurity in recent years, thousands of citizens of the country have migrated irregularly on the path that leads many to cemeteries instead of destinations.

Hekmatullah was one such 19-year-old man from Faryab who had taken an irregular migration route to reach his destination (Iran) and was burned alive before arriving in Iran. In order to repay his father’s loans, he preferred irregular immigration and went to a foreign land.

Hekmatullah’s family members in one of Faryab districts said they are witnessing daily armed clashes between the Taliban and government forces. They said that war and poverty have caused young people like Hekmatullah to leave school and university and migrate in the hope of a better life.

Afghanistan has been plagued by war and insecurity for nearly four decades.

In order to resolve the conflict peacefully, the Afghan government, representatives of the Taliban and some countries in the region are trying to put an end to this bloody story with different diplomatic initiatives.



Hekmatullah’s family considered Iranian government complicit in the war and peace in Afghanistan, and emphasizes that if Tehran helped the Afghan people to achieve lasting peace, they will forgive the Iranian government for killing their son.

“After nearly a year of this tragic event and the burning of Hekmatullah in the fire, we will not really forget, but we can forgive the Iranian government if it cooperates with such a good deed of bringing peace to Afghanistan,” Ghulam Dastgir, Hekmatullah’s brother, told Salam Watandar. “One of my great dreams is that one day Afghanistan will witness a nation-wide peace and that other young people, like Hekmatullah, will not burn in the fire while migrating to foreign countries.”

The irregular path chosen by the citizens of Afghanistan has taken some to Iran, Turkey and some to European countries, but those less fortunate end up in graves.

According to reports, about 400,000 Afghan citizens enter Iran irregularly each year, and a large sum of money is paid to smugglers for it. The migrants often pay to thieves, hostage-takers, border police and checkpoint operators who threaten them of physical and psychologic torture.

Mohammad Alam Ashouri, a close associate of Hekmatullah, described his experience of irregular migration. “Because of poverty and unemployment, I migrated to Iran, and I had to migrate irregularly. It was exactly one year ago when that a bloody incident took place in Yazd, Iran, and as a result, my cousin Hekmatullah was killed. My other cousin, Lotfallah, who cries out in the viral video “Bring me some water, I’m burnt,” is still injured”, he said.



He added a number of his cousins who were riding the same car that caught fire remain critically injured. “After this happened, we returned home; but the government did not pay any attention to us”, he said.

Meanwhile, Gholam Farooq Mohammadi, head of migrants and returnees in Faryab, said that 50 to 100 families come to his office every day, where cash and non-cash assistance is provided to those in need. The head of migrants and returnees department added that Hekmatullah’s family has not referred to this office so far and if they do, they will be taken care of.

More than six million Afghans are currently living as migrants and refugees worldwide, according to the Ministry of Refugees and Returnees.