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Hundreds of Afghans flee country through Nimroz border daily

Hundreds of Afghans flee country through Nimroz border daily

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On
Nov 07, 2017 - 15:16

ZARANJ (Pajhwok): Local officials say insecurity, joblessness and poverty force a large number of people to go abroad illegally through southwestern Nimroz province.

Nimroz, sharing borders with Iran and Pakistan, has become a passage for illegal migration. Inadequate border controls are the only reason why people can easily leave or enter the country.

A Nimroz-based official, who wished to go unnamed, told Pajhwok Afghan News more than 2,000 Afghan youth were leaving the country through the border on a daily basis.

“These youth are trafficked to Pakistan and then to Iran. Some of them later travel to Turkey. About 50 percent go abroad due to to insecurity, poverty and joblessness,” he acknowledged.

The official said only 50 percent of the migrants were able to reach their destinations while the rest were arrested and deported.

Sher Ahmad, a migrant trafficker, said each person paid him $1,200 for transportation to Turkey.

With years of experience in trafficking migrants, he confirmed: “Those embarking on an illegal journey face huge problems, because they need food and water during their trip. They may be arrested by Pakistani and Iranian border forces.”

He said that Afghan migrants first arrived in the Char Burjak district of Nimroz before moving to Mashkin area of Pakistan and then to the Sarawan city of Iran. Those who want to travel to Turkey go Iran’s border city of Urmia.

Iran recently issued Afghan migrants with families six-month residency cards but it is unclear whether the document would be extended. That is the reason why the number of Afghan refugees has increased in Iran.

Most of the Afghans leaving their country were from the northern, including Faryab, Sar-i-Pul, Takhar and Kunduz, Ahmad explained.

Faiz Mohammad, a resident of Takhar province who travelled to Nimroz for migration to a foreign country, said insecurity had forced him to leave the country.

“We are a seven-member family. In addition to the government’s failure to provide job opportunities for youth, insecurity is another challenge that has made our life difficult. That’s why we are leaving our country for the first time. I would not return even if deported 100 times,” he remarked.

Naqibullah, an inhabitant of the Qiasar district of Faryab province, said that joblessness and war had forced him to leave the country. “I know I would suffer until I reach my destination, but I accept challenges.” Ahmad Hussaini, a refugee affairs official in Nimroz, said people fleeing the country chose the province due to its long and porous borders with Iran and Pakistan.

Around 2,000 Afghans illegally migrate through Nimroz to foreign countries daily at a time when Afghan refugees’ deportation from Iran has seen a three-fold increase, according to the official.

Over the past six months, 209,460 Afghan refugees have returned from Iran, with 72,379 coming back home voluntarily and the rest deported. Hussaini said 52,270 Afghans were deported from Iran last year.

Afghan refugees in Iran were previously deported through the Islam Qala port in western Herat province. But currently, they are deported through Nimroz province.

Sulaikha, one of the returnees, said they were detained by police in Kerman and deported two days later. A resident of Herat province, she said: “My children were studying in Iran but I don’t know what they will do now in Afghanistan. My husband was a shopkeeper in Kerman.”

Mohammad Gul, hailing from Faryab province, travelled eight days and nights before he reached Kerman, where he was arrested along with his 20 others and then deported.

“Traffickers bundle migrants like animals into vehicles. A vehicle for five people is crammed with 20 migrants. At times, they are stopped and deported by police,” he said.

Nimroz police chief, Brig. Gen. Khwaja Jilani Abu Bakar, argued it was the responsibility of border security forces to crack down on illegal migrants.

However, he said Nimroz police had detained 16 individuals involved in human trafficking this year. He confirmed people from other provinces came to Nimroz for migrating to foreign countries.

Police cannot detain anyone in the absence of clear evidence. Abu Bakar added border guards had detained many people who were illegally crossing the border. However, he did not provide exact figures.

Pajhwok tried to contact border forces for comments about the illegal migration through Nimroz, but failed to reach them.

mds/mud

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