By: Abdul Ghafoor
Wafaye and Ahmadi, two of the young boys recently deported from Norway on 18 – 2- 2019 had just left my office moments before we started hearing sound of explosions coming from the Western part of Kabul and from a close distance where my office is located. I rushed to the balcony to see where the smoke was coming from while the explosions keep on going and could be easily heard from where I was standing. By that time, all the roads leading to the site of the attack were closed and the ambulances were active and heading to the site of the explosions.
I called Wafaye to make sure they weren’t heading to the area were the blasts were occurring. Luckily, they had heard the explosion and had directly gone to the hotel they are living. Wafaye told me he was planning to go to Dashte Barchi, but when he heard the explosions, he was terrified and chose to go to the hotel. Wafaye and Ahmadi do not have any social network or family in Afghanistan and therefore, are currently living in a hotel along with dozens of others and share a common dining hall. They both can only stay there at night if they do both dinner and lunch at the same hotel, or else they won’t be given a space to sleep.
I then received a call from another deportee who was deported from Denmark on 27th of January. He was actually present at the gathering and had to escape for his life after rockets started falling around him. This is what he said;
“I was sitting in the front row when the first rocket landed close to the entrance and the main gate, with few seconds’ difference, more rockets started landing in different parts of the venue where hundreds of people had gathered. I was too far to reach the main gate to escape, I ran towards the stage to find safety. more rockets started landing closer to us, I had no option but to climb up the wall and jump from there. I lost all my money and my clothes were full of dirt. Luckily I didn’t suffer any injury from the explosions”
As soon as I was off from the call with Wafaye and the deportee from Denmark, I started receiving calls from my friends who knew the location of my office and where worried about my safety. The next call I received was from a Family deported from Norway last year. They have been to my office for advice at several occasions and were concerned about me after hearing about the explosions.
Today at around 11:30, Taliban carried out a coordinated attack on a political gathering commemorating the martyrdom of Abdul Ali Mazari, a Hazara leader and the founder of Hizb – e – Wahdat who was killed by Taliban in 1994. Hundreds of his followers, mainly Hazaras had gathered to show their respect to their late leader when rockets started falling among the people gathered at the event. Many mortars have also landed in the houses close of the venue killing and injuring civilians at their homes. Many top Afghan leaders and government officials were also present during the event when the whole situation unfolded. According to the latest figure from various news outlets, 5 have been killed and around 32 have been injured. Those injured also include two political leaders and a member of the Afghan parliament.
I have written blogs, given many interviews with journalists and have been stressing time and again that the situation in Afghanistan, especially the capital Kabul has unfortunately deteriorated and has created uncertainty and fear among the people. Just yesterday, a young couple visited my office asking for safe options and advice to leave the country because they were concerned about the security situation, and today this happened. Western part of Kabul, where the attack was carried out today was considered one of the safest parts of Kabul two years ago, is now considered one of the most dangerous parts of the city.
Therefore, sending young Afghan asylum seekers back to a situation like today is directly putting their lives in danger. Many of those recently deported from the EU states especially Sweden, Norway and Denmark are very young. They have not been to Afghanistan before and are setting foot in the country for the first time. The fear and the shakiness in voice of Wafaye and the deportee from Denmark during the conversation on the telephone i had with them could easily portray the fear they were going through after experiencing the explosions for the first time in their lives and being actually present when all these happened.
Many EU states have plans to deport dozens of Afghan asylum seekers back to Afghanistan. Sweden is planning to send another charter flight back to Afghanistan on 12 of March with unconfirmed number of asylum seekers in it. Those deported in the past couple of weeks from Sweden are already suffering to the level that some have ended up on the streets due to non-availability of any support system and no guarantee for their safety post arrival, some have already left the country to find safety and the others are looking for opportunities to flee again.
Sweden and the other EU states must realize it is not humane to send these young Afghans back to danger and instead should give them another chance for life, for safety and for protection.