Recent Afghan returnees warn others of irregular migration

Photo credit: UNDP Afghanistan

TMP – 24/10/2017

With a diaspora totaling around five million people, Afghans make up the second largest group of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe, after Syrians.
Local networks of people smugglers remain active in Afghanistan with a steady stream of people willing to pay vast sums to leave the country and seek asylum in European countries. The central passport office reportedly issues some 2,500 passports every day.

In a story published recently by the UN Development Programme, Afghan migrants shared their reasons for leaving the country and their experiences of the migration journey.

Zabi Azmon is among those who want to go to Europe. He believes that unemployment is one of the major factors behind Afghan migration to Europe.
“The reason people leave the country is unemployment. Some people sell their house and others leave behind all their belongings and dependents and go to Europe,” Zabi said.

But many recent Afghan returnees regret having tried to migrate to Europe and warn others not to undertake the journey.
Hashmat, who was recently deported from Germany, advises his compatriots to stay in Afghanistan.
“I sold my land, my house and everything I had and migrated to Europe. I destroyed my life. I have five kids and they were about to drown at sea. We had no worth there, we had to move from one camp to another,” he explained. “When I landed in my country, I kissed its soil,” he added.

Nawroz says that his brother regrets migrating to Germany. “If you want to go to Germany, you need at least 10,000 dollars. It is a lot of money. With the same money, you can open a small business here. My younger brother spent nearly 10,000 dollars, but now he regrets it because he has no job,” Nawroz said.

Asadullah Yaqubi, a recent returnee, told TOLO News that he was detained for 14 months in Austria before being deported. “I have no money and no family in Afghanistan. I was in custody, I had an attorney. I was told that we will be taken to another camp but we were directly taken to the plane,” he explained.
Toryalai also spent thousands of dollars to reach Europe, before being deported back to Afghanistan along with his family members. He says that migrants can’t find the same respect in Europe as they have in their home countries, and warns of the perilous passage to Europe.

“One of us was so sick, we thought he was dying, so we shouted to the driver to stop the car, he just turned up the music and drove even faster. Traffickers don’t care about anyone’s life,” Toryalia said.