By: Abdul Ghafoor
As many Swedish mothers, guardians, activists and will wishers of Afghan asylum seekers in Sweden. I am also concerned about the return of 48 Afghan asylum seekers back to Afghanistan planned on Monday 19th of November this month, and wanted to share the reasons of my/our concern about the dangers returning these young vulnerable boys back to Afghanistan.
My name is Abdul Ghafoor and I am currently running a charity organization by the name of Afghanistan Migrants Advice & Support Organization (AMASO). For the last 5 years, I have met hundreds of those forcibly deported back to Afghanistan and have been monitoring their situation as long as possible over the last several years. What I have found based on my experience is not what your government or people have heard or known about often.
Ms Fritzon, I know you have been provided with information about the security situation in Afghanistan and often advised that it is safe to return Afghan asylum seekers back to the country. It is sad to let you know that the reality on the ground is totally different from what you have been told. The reality is that Afghan government has failed to provide security to the millions of people who are inside the country, and therefore there is no guarantee they can assure the safety of hundreds of others who are facing deportation to the country. It is also a fact that the government has been losing ground to Taliban and ISIS every passing day. According to a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR)
“the Afghan government currently controls or influences only 55.5% of the country’s districts, marking the lowest level recorded since SIGAR began tracking district control in November 2015.”
The recent example of a deteriorating security situation was Taliban’s attack on two of the safest districts of Ghazni province, Jaghori and Malistan. The two provinces are Hazara populated areas and have been safe from Taliban attacks since the fall of Taliban regime in 2001. According to the information i have been receiving from activists in Sweden, 10 out of 48 people set deport to Afghanistan comes from the province mentioned province.
Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, often proposed as an alternative by the European states on the other hand has no signs of a safe city, or a city where one can live in peace. With the recent number of deadly attacks in the Capital it is unrealistic to propose Kabul as a safe haven for return. Educational center, sport club, and Mosques have several times been attacked in 2018 only and created fear among all the residents of Kabul, especially the Western part of Kabul, a Hazara populated area once safe from the attacks is now the prime target of these attack, mostly claimed by ISIS.
The level of fear among Afghan people today is higher than anytime before. For returnees, it is a whole new challenge and risk they have to face and battle with once deported. The fear of being victim of one of the many blasts taking place in the country, non-availability of social and economic network and a failed state lead by incapable president. As much as returnees want to accept the fact and try to re-integrate, the situation in the country is as such that they don’t see any chance of survival.
Therefore, the only option they have is to re-migrate, go through the same dangerous journey again and find somewhere safer. For those who are unlucky and do not have the resources to make a new journey and survive, they end up being addicted to drugs, joining the militant groups and at times giving up on life. I am currently in contact with dozens of those who were once deported but are now either in Iran, Turkey or one of the European countries.
Dear Heléne Fritzon, the experience i have had working with Swedish people, activists and media. I have seen sympathy and respect for humanity, i have seen rule of law and helping those in need. Afghans are the most marginalized group of refugees in the globe, they have a government that has failed to protect them. They have a leadership that has failed to be their voice and talk about their rights. It is time your government accept the fact and realities in the ground and stop returning Afghan asylum seekers back to danger, or history will remember your country’s betrayal to a group of young people who were in search of nothing more, but safety and protection.