“It was the toughest journey one can ever have,” said Afghan returnee

We asked an Afghan irregular migrant to share his story with The Migrant Project. Read more about his journey below:

What was your profession before leaving Afghanistan?

I was not busy with any job before leaving Afghanistan. I left Afghanistan just one and half years after I graduated from Geology faculty of Kabul University, and I was searching for a job.

Why did you decide to leave Afghanistan?

During university and after graduation I knocked on many doors looking for a job to support my family of seven, but everywhere they just asked me for work experience that I didn’t have.

In making your decision, who did you talk to?

The first time I shared my decision with family and friends, I faced many positive and negative reactions. As I was really aiming to leave, I talked to and received advice from my friends who are already in Europe.

What route did you take to get to Europe?

I don’t really know the exact route, because it was the first time I was travelling abroad and I was using an irregular way. I know that first we went to Pakistan via Nimroz province, then Iran and Turkey. I travelled to Greece but eventually returned to Turkey.

What challenges did you face on the way to your destination?

I faced many challenges along this tough journey. On the way to Iran, thieves ambushed us and forced us to give them all we had. Along the border between Iran and Turkey, the people smugglers left us alone and we were arrested by police. Although the police released us after a few days, we didn’t know anyone in Turkey and remained there for almost a year. We needed to find another smuggler to take us to Europe, and to earn some money for essentials and for the journey.

After nearly a year in Turkey, my roommates and I found a smuggler to take us to Austria. We paid almost EUR 6,000 but we were deceived again. He left us in a tube boat with an engine. We were eventually arrested by the Greek police and returned to Turkey after a week in prison.

How much did it cost you to get to Europe?

It cost me nearly EUR 7,000.

Was it easier or harder than you thought?

It was the toughest journey one can ever have.

Why have you returned to Afghanistan?

I’ve returned back to Afghanistan because we were pushed back to Turkey by the Greek police. I had nothing to spend and I couldn’t find a job opportunity in a short time.

TMP – 26/06/2019

Photo credit: Nicolas Economou / Shutterstock

Photo caption: Aerial images of migrants arriving from Turkey to Greece by boat