Afghan family recently deported from Norway, narrowly escape Kabul suicide attack

By: Abdul Ghafoor

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Ali Reza, the older son of the family standing outside the Mosque moments after the suicide attack carried out inside the Mosque.

Kabul was once again rocked by a suicide bomber that blew himself among the mourners mainly from the Hazara Shi’ite minority to commemorate the 40th of Muharam, the death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and Shia martyr.Witnesses suggest the attack was carried out by a man who had posed as a beggar entering on foot.  The suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of the hall full of mourners at around 12:27 Kabul time.

Witnesses claim at least 27 people were killed as a result of the blast and 35 others were injured.The deceased include people of all ages, including small children. The exact number of casualties is yet to be confirmed.

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Among all the victims was the Farhadi family, who were deported from Norway less than one month ago. The family was close to the site of the blast, intending to join the processions when the blast took place. Fortunately their injuries are minor. The youngest child, 2 years old, who fell from his mother’s arms the moment the blast occurred, has minor injuries on his face and bleeding from one of his ears.

In a conversation with the family earlier, the family confirmed that they escaped with minor injuries, but the children and the mother are in a state of trauma and shock as a result of the suicide attack.

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Norwegian Minister’s Cruel and Inhumane treatment of Afghan children

By: Abdul Ghafoor

The Norwegian Integration Minster Sylvi Listhaug , recently responded through a Facebook post, dated 14th November with delight rather than shame to the 12 November New York Times article, pointing out Norway’s increasingly harsh treatment of Afghan refugees. The Minister crowed that the NYT would send ‘an important signal…to the whole world’ that those whose claims are rejected would be deported and that Norway has world’s strictest return policy.

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Translation of the text ” This is an important signal reaching out to the whole world through New York Times. The pressure on forced deportations and the change in direction on Norwegian asylum politics under the Progress Party and this government, is being noticed. That is good! The time for talk is over – now, what counts is action *thumbs up*. we will lead a strict policy, meaning that those who gets a rejection, is going out. Either voluntarily, or by force! Like and share if you agree!”

Those deported include families (some without fathers) with small children, who are being returned to a city they do not know and a culture with which they are not familiar. But more importantly they are being returned to Kabul at a time when anti-government attacks are increasing. One family, the Mousavi family had sought shelter in Karte Sakhi shortly after their return mid-August. Unable to return to their home province, they were still in Karte Sakhi three months later on 11th October gunmen attacked Shrine close to where the family is currently living and killed 14 people, injuring at least 36 others. The family cowered, terrified of the flying bullets as government forces fought with the attackers.

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The Basharpal family, frightened and hiding moments after the attack was carried out on Care organisation, close to the hotel. 

Another family, Mirwais Basharpal also recently returned from Norway were staying in the hotel in Shar E Naw (provided by the Norwegian government, which has taken on itself the right to prohibit visitors) when the nearby Care organisation was attacked by a suicide bomber on 6th of September – blowing out the windows of the hotel the returnees are accommodate and showering the children with broken glass.

 

None of these events has caused the inappropriately named Integration Minister to question her policy or position. Norway rejects more Afghan claims than any other EU state – it is not logical or reasonable to assume that Afghans who arrive in Norway are less entitled to protection than those who claim elsewhere. Clearly some of those who are returned are at risk – even Norway accepts this, but argues that there are safe internal relocation alternatives, such as Kabul.

No Sylvi, those families, children and adults you are deporting to Afghanistan are not living in safety in Kabul or any of other provinces considered safe! Children deported live in trauma and fear and aren’t able to integrate into a society they have hardly been part of. Children deported to Afghanistan talk about their school mates, their football mates and the life in Norway. Why wouldn’t they? They are children at the end of the day. They hardly understand what your inhumane policy is doing to them or their future.

Since at least 2014, Kabul cannot be considered safe. The following is a list of the largest attacks in 2016 (there are far more attacks with lower fatalities):

 

January

1 January: the Taliban exploded a bomb and engaged in a firefight at a restaurant in Kabul, leading to the death of a child and wounding 15 others.

4 January: a bomb-filled truck exploded at a facility for workers in Kabul, killing one civilian and injuring another 22 civilians.

20 January: a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying media personnel in Kabul on 20 January, killing seven people and wounding more than 20;

February

1 February: A police facility in Kabul was struck by a suicide bomber on, resulting in the deaths of more than 20 police officers,

27 February: 15 people killed

 April

15 April: multiple coordinated attacks across Kabul, including Presidential Palace

19 April: 64 people killed in attack at Pul-e-Mahmud, Kabul 

May

25 May: 11 people killed during morning rush hour in Kabul 

June

20 June: 14 people killed in central Kabul

30 June: 27 police cadets killed, more than 40 wounded

July

23 July: 80+ killed and at least 230 injured during peaceful demonstration by Hazaras protesting discrimination

August

16 killed, 50+ wounded in attack on American University campus, Darulaman, Kabul

September

5 attacks in 24 hours (5-6 September): Monday – 41 people killed, 103 others were wounded in one attack

October

5 October: 20 wounded in a suicide attack in Kabul

11 October: Gunmen attack on a shrine killing 14 and injuring around 36 others

19 October: Gunmen kills 2 American soldiers, injures 3 advisers

November

12 November: Suicide attack on Bagram airbase killing 4 American soldiers and injuring 16 other US and International forces

16 November: Suicide attacks killed 4 security personal and injured another 11 in the heart of Kabul 

Abdul Ghafoor is a refugee rights activist and director at Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organisation. follow on twitter https://twitter.com/ghafoorazad

 

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Afghan refugees in Europe ” Stop Deportation to Afghanistan” , ” Afghanistan is not safe”

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By: Abdul Ghafoor

Thousands of Afghan refugees marched on different cities across Europe to share their concerns about the recent deal between Afghanistan and EU, and to oppose forced deportation to Afghanistan. Demonstrations were called for 22nd October, in different cities of Germany and Sweden, the two major countries with highest number of Afghans that sought asylum in 2015.

Demonstrations were held in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo and other smaller cities of Sweden, where hundreds of Afghan refugees gathered to oppose deportation to Afghanistan.  Thousands more gathered in different part of Germany on the same day to protest against the deal and oppose forced expulsion to Afghanistan. Hamburg, Dusserdolf and many other smaller cities.

According to figures released by European Asylum Support Office “– 190 013 Afghans applied for international protection in EU+ countries in 2015″. According to the same data provided by EASO 70% of the refugees applied for asylum in Hungary, Sweden, Germany and Austria.

EU and Afghanistan signed a deal last month that will allow EU to deport thousands of Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan. The demonstrators fear their lives will be in danger if they are returned under the deal. They claim, Afghanistan is already in chaos with at least 1.5 million IDPs and thousands of more being deported from neighboring countries on daily basis. The demonstrators were holding placards and chanting ” Stop Deportation to Afghanistan” and ” Afghanistan IS Not Safe”.

With the outreach of Taliban in most of the provinces of Afghanistan and the existence and expansion of ISIS as a fresh threat, security is the first concern for most of those who fear deportations under the deal, also known as ” Joint Way Forward”. Recent attacks on minority Hazaras and the kidnappings on the highways connecting to central Afghanistan is also what not many people and media have talked about, but the Afghan refugees in EU are well aware of those threats if they are returned.

Pictures from demonstration in Germany

Pictures from demonstration in Sweden

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Afghan civil society activists demand “stop implementing the Joint Way Forward deal”

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By: Abdul Ghafoor

Afghan civil society activists and a number of families and adults who were recently deported from various European countries held a press conference in Kabul today, to share their concerns about the deal that was recently signed between the Afghan government and the EU. The deal, if implemented, will allow the EU to deport thousands of Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan.

The activists called on both the EU and Afghan government to stop implementing the deal. They said:

‘Afghanistan is already struggling to provide basic needs to millions of returnees and deportees from neighboring countries. There is at least 1.3 million Internally Displaced Persons in Afghanistan, who have left their villages and provinces due to insurgent attacks and deteriorating security situation. Tens of thousands have fled Kunduz, Helmand, Baghlan in recent weeks. Most of those internally displaced are living in open air with no proper shelter, accommodation or food’.

Abdul Ghafoor, director at Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organization said ‘most of those who were forcibly returned from various European countries including UK, Norway and other Scandinavian countries in the past couple of years have already re-migrated, unable to remain in Afghanistan’. He continued ‘faced with so many challenges, Afghanistan cannot manage this large number of returnees’. Faced with destitution here, the only option these returnees have is to leave the country and take the dangerous journey again.

Afghan Civil Society also emphasized on stopping deportation from Germany which is planned by the end of this month. Rumors suggest Germany is planning to deport the at least 50 Afghan refugees on 27th of October through a charter flight. The charter plane is planned at a time, where none of the points mentioned in the deal have been implemented yet. The deportation, if implemented will create a chaos for both the returnees and the Afghan government.

Press statement

“Joint way forward” the EU and Afghanistan deal on return of Afghan national from the EU

Afghan migration is once again at the top of the political agenda. It has been a hot topic for many decades now. Over decades millions of Afghans have had to flee various conflicts. Today Afghans make up the second largest refugee population in Europe after Syria. Alone in 2015, 196,170 sought asylum in Europe.

Those who have fled Afghanistan recently include unaccompanied Afghan youth (the largest national group in Europe), families and other vulnerable groups of people. Seeking safety, work to allow them to survive, and hope for their future, they risk a dangerous journey to reach Europe. Many families have lost their loved ones en route. Whole families were drowned, and young boys have been beaten, sexually assaulted, tear gassed, robbed and shot crossing Iranian, Turkish and European borders. There were many Afghans among the 4,000 people who drowned last year in the Mediterranean Sea, and the 3,000+ who have died so far this year.

In spite of all these risks, many Afghans reached Europe, especially Germany where at first they were welcome. However, other countries failed to show the same generosity as Mrs Merkel, and so Germany received almost all the Afghans coming in the last year, plus many, many Syrians. Last month, angry that they alone were sheltering refugees, Germans punished Mrs Merkel in the German elections. Under pressure from other European states and her own party and government, Mrs Merkel called President Ghani personally last week and told him to sign.

Afraid that aid to Afghanistan would be cut, in spite of strong opposition from the Minister of Refugees, the Afghan parliament agreed to accept the deal on Sunday and it was signed that night by deputy Minister for Refugees, Dr Alema. Now, any Afghan whose case is not accepted will be quickly returned back to Afghanistan under a joint agreement between Afghanistan and EU called “Joint way forward”.

We at civil society have gathered today to share our concerns regarding this deal that will put lives of thousands of people at stake.

  1. The deal has been processed in an un-democratic way by the EU. The agreement was not submitted for scrutiny to the parliament of the European Union or any European state. Refugee rights organizations, supporters and defenders had no chance to argue against it.
  1. We have concerns Afghanistan is being used as a test case, and this policy will be used against refugees across the world.
  1. Afghanistan is already struggling to deal with hundreds of thousands of people returning from the neighboring countries. The government and international agencies are struggling to provide them with basic needs such as shelter and food. There is no infrastructure in place that would guarantee they will have a place to stay and job to survive. On the other hand there are at least 1.3 million IDPs currently in different part of Afghanistan, most of whom due to the deteriorating security situation in the country.
  1. Frontex will be responsible for managing the returns. Based on our experience and the accounts of the returnees met over the past several years, Frontex have been mistreating returnees during deportation process. Our concern is that deporting large number of refugees will be a massive challenge and hiring new employees for Frontex without proper training can put the safety of returnees at risk.
  1. In another part of the deal it has been mentioned that EU will support Afghanistan in creating job opportunities for the returnees. This is not the first time such promises have been made and yet there has been very little effect on the lives of the returnees. With unemployment for the general population so high, how can the problem of returnees be solved with poor and short-term employment programs. This sort of small packages wouldn’t be enough for migrants who have spent thousands of dollars to reach one of the European countries. As a result, the only option for the returnees would be to re-migrate.
  1. Finally, recent studies such as “ After Return “ (RSN 2016), “what happens post-deportation” (Schuster & Majidi 2013, 2014) demonstrate that deportation to Afghanistan up to now has been a failure. A large number of those who have been returned over the past several years have already re-migrated, they are either in the neighboring countries, Iran or Pakistan, or further in to Turkey or another European country.

We believe this is not a good time for a deal like the “Joint Way Forward “. 24 hours after the deal was signed, Kunduz fell to the Taliban. It is clear the security situation is deteriorating and it will create more chaos and challenges for both the Afghan government and the EU once thousands of people are deported to Afghanistan with no basic infrastructure and livelihood in place.

Currently, Kunduz, Helmand, Farah, Uruzgan, Zabul, Baghlan, Faryab and many other provinces are facing insurgent attacks which clearly indicates volatile security situation of Afghanistan. We believe the government doesn’t have any sort of preparation to be able to accommodate a high number of returnees from Europe, amidst deteriorating security situation in the country. Choosing such a deal at this time is clearly not an ideal solution for both the returnees and the government. It will only create more problems and chaos for the both the returnees and the Afghan government.

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Demonstration to bring Mousavi family back to Norway

By: Abdul Ghafoor

Dozens of supporters of Mousavi family gathered in front of the Norwegian Parliament to show their support for the Mousavi family. Protesters were demanding to bring the Mousavi Family back to Norway. The family was unlawfully deported back to Afghanistan on 13th of August this year. They had stayed in Norway for almost 5 years. According to a new Norwegian law those who have stayed in Norway for more than 4,5 years and the children have gone to school for at least 1 year shouldn’t be expelled from the country. Both the children, Javed and Masoud have gone to school more than 1 year, and the family has stayed in Norway for almost 5 years. Despite all the facts mentioned, they were expelled back to Afghanistan last month.

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Is Afghanistan safe enough for refugees to be deported?

 

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Picture taken by another deportees who was deported on 21st of June this year. He lives in the nearby area where the attack took place last night

By:Abdul Ghafoor

“Are you safe”, “please stay safe” is what I always hear every time there is a blast happening in Kabul. However, this time it was not me anyone had to be concerned about, but dozens of deportees from Norway, including some families who were stranded in a hotel only few meters from the site of a suicide attack followed by heavy gunfire at guest house in downtown Kabul around 11:20 pm Kabul time, last night.  Deportees from Norway are accommodated in a hotel named Roshan hotel, situated inside Roshan plaza in Shar E Naw area of Kabul.

This was the third attack in a row in a single day in Kabul. Earlier in the day, two blasts targeted the Ministry of Defense compound killing at least 24 people injuring at least 91 others. The victims include some of the top security personal including the chief of police district two of Kabul city.

According to different media sources; the first blast hit the gate of the Ministry of Defense following another suicide attack after people gathered to help the injured of the first blast. The suicide bomber was wearing an Afghan army uniform, said different media sources. http://www.dpa-international.com/topic/militants-take-hostages-afghan-capital-bombings-kill-24-160906-99-346785

I was set to meet one of the families deported 8 days ago in my office today. Unaware of the fact that they have passed the night with fear and sounds of bullets and blasts. I tried to reach some of deportees soon after I heard about the blast. I could not reach any of them at that point of time, it was late night and they must have been in a state of trauma witnessing the attacks. I called Mr. Sakhi who i was supposed to meet today, his response to my call was.

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Picture shows Mr. Sakhi’s family frightened moments after the blast took place only few meters from they hotel they are accommodated post return

“We are still stranded in the hotel and we are not allowed to get out of here, we had a terrible night with sounds of bullet and blasts, my children were frightened to death. A flower pot hit my younger daughter in the head but luckily she didn’t get any serious injuries. All the glasses in our room shattered and the tables and chairs were badly damaged”

Recently a large number of Afghans from neighboring countries Iran and Pakistan and some of the European countries have been deported back to Afghanistan, mostly Kabul. The countries that are deporting Afghans claim Kabul is a safe haven for most of the deportees if they can’t go to their own provinces. Most of the European states have used this argument for a long time now, just to sideline Afghans and give very little attention to their plight. The deporting countries claim the deportees can relocate in Kabul or other areas in accordance with the UNHCR guideline regarding the IRFA (Internal Flight or Relocation Alternative). This is truly unrealistic and against the guideline, which emphasizes on the safety of the areas refugees are supposed to be relocated in.

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Smoke can be seen from the site of the blast from near the hotel the deportees from Norway are accommodated

Considering the recent regular attacks in Kabul and the number of civilian casualties caused by the attacks. There is no doubt one can consider Kabul as a safe city anymore. Therefore relocating deportees to a city like Kabul is as dangerous as relocating people back to provinces like Helmand or Kunduz. This is not only on the European states to reconsider their decision on refouling Afghans at this point of time, but the responsibility also goes to the Afghan government to stop thinking about signing any kind of new agreement which will encourage force return to Afghanistan. The Afghan government is also responsible to make urgent negotiations with Pakistan and Iran to extend the stay of Afghan refugees in the concerned countries because they are also as vulnerable as any other refugee who have to return to a war torn country after staying several years in exile.

 

 

 

 

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Children deported back to Afghanistan: The most vulnerable group of deportees

 

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By: Abdul Ghafoor

Masoud and his parents were deported to Afghanistan only few hours before he could celebrate his 7th Birthday. All the preparations were in place to celebrate his Birthday at a play land the coming day. Unlucky for Masoud he and the family were arrested in the middle of the night and transferred to deportation center (Trandum) before deporting back to Afghanistan. Masoud, 7, Javed, 17 and their parents were forcibly returned to Afghanistan on 14th of August 2016, after almost 5 years of staying in Norway.

Among most of the families deported to Afghanistan in the past few years or those who have been deported recently are accompanied by children of different ages. They are for sure the most vulnerable group of people that get affected during any deportation process. These children start school, learn the language and generally integrate better into the communities than their parents. Therefore, they often feel that Norway has become their home, whilst there country of origin becomes a more-distant, unfamiliar place to them.

Masoud was only 1 month old when his parents left Afghanistan. Today he has been forcibly returned to a place he hardly knows anything about. The people, environment and every single thing looks new to him. When I met Masoud and the family a couple of days after they were deported to Kabul. Masoud was still talking about his friends in Norway, his school being started and his preparations for going to School. “When are we going back to Norway?” Is what Masoud still asks his parents every morning he wakes up. Masoud is afraid of people moving around with weapons, he is frightened when he sees police with guns moving around the city. He wouldn’t go out of the hotel either himself or let Javed go, because he is afraid something will happen to him.

“I don’t like to go outside, I also won’t allow Javed go out. I am afraid he will get killed!” Said Masoud

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Taliban/ISIS targeting Afghan youth

Deteriorating security situation of Afghanistan and the failure of the National Unity Government has created concerns for most of the Afghans who were once hopeful of a better future. The number of people who have fled Afghanistan in 2015 confirms the fact that Afghans have lost faith in the government and don’t see any future in the country. Instead, they choose to get on dangerous journeys to seek safety and protection. The number of people fleeing Afghanistan might have decreased in 2016, but it hasn’t stopped. Still a large number of people are fleeing Afghanistan, mostly youth and families.

On 23rd July, 2016 at least 80 people belonging to Hazara minority were killed and more than 230 were injured during a peaceful protest in Kabul. Some of those severely injured passed away in the weeks following the attack taking the number of casualties to almost 100 killed. Most of the victims of the attack which was later claimed by ISIS were the Afghan youth. Out of those who lost their lives during the attack, 7 had master’s degrees, 24 had bachelor’s degrees, 40 were university students. This attack was indeed one of the deadliest attacks targeting youth, from a minority group.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/23/hazara-minority-targeted-by-suicide-bombs-at-kabul-protest

In a latest incident on 25th of August Taliban stormed at one of the most prestigious University in Kabul, The American University of Afghanistan, killing at least 12 people mostly students and injuring around 30-35 others. 700 students were present at the time the attack took place. Afghan youth however remain strong and dedicated and feel responsible for their home and county and choose staying over leaving, but for some, there is no other option but to flee. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/24/asia/kabul-afghanistan-american-university-blast-gunshots-heard/index.html

Considering the current deteriorating security situation and the experience of working with a large number of deportees here in Kabul. I have learnt that deportation to Afghanistan at this point of time is clearly not going to solve any problem but will only add in to the already existing problems for the Afghan government. The result of such deportations can never be expected to be the end of the cycle but the start of another cycle, re-migration. A large number of those deported since 2013 are already out of Afghanistan!

 

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Deportation from Norway: Father’s self-harm attempt to resist deportation fails, deported despite severe injury, bleeding and unconsciousness

By: Abdul Ghafoor

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Deportation of Afghan refugees from European states has gone unnoticed for many years in the past. Until with the recent exodus of Afghan refugees and the fear of deportation for many of those who had recently arrived in Europe and their asylum claims have been rejected.  There has also been up and down in the number of deportation to Afghanistan in the past few years. According to a figure released by the Ministry of refugees and repatriation the number of deportation from Europe to Afghanistan was a little over 900 in 2013 and 2014.

The number however decreased in 2015, with only 340 people deported. The decrease in the number of deporteees was mostly due to the stance and pleas made by the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation to the countries that forcibly return Afghans. The plea was mostly based around the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, and the outreach of Taliban in most parts of Afghanistan since 2001. In a meeting we had with the Minister Mr. Alami Blakhi in February 2015, he believed it was not safe for Afghans to be returned to Afghanistan, especially families.

Most of the European states that used to deport Afghans have been respecting the request made by the Minister and MOUs and have stopped, or decreased forcibly returning Afghans, except Norway. Norway has once again accelerated the number of deportations to Afghanistan, especially in the past few months. A large number of families are a part of the recent deportation. Most of the children deported along with the families have been born and raised in Norway and have never been to Afghanistan, they hardly understand or communicate in any Afghan local languages.

One of the families deported last week is Mr. Karim Hamidi her wife (Halima) and a 4 year old daughter. The family was also victim of the harsh Norwegian policies and were forcibly returned back to Afghanistan despite the father’s attempt to self-harm.

In an interview with the family at local restaurant in down town Kabul I found Mr. Karim’s left hand in bandages as a result of the self-harm attempt. He claimed, he was ready to take his life instead of being returned back to Afghanistan. He does not feel safe in Afghanistan and fears for his life and the lives of his wife and daughter. He believed it was an unfair decision to return them forcibly, he was also complaining about the mistreatment by the Norwegian authorities during the deportation process, he described the deportation process as such;

“It was between 3:30 – 4:00 Am when the door knocked. It was the Norwegian police knocking on our door, they entered the house as soon as I opened the door. We were told to collect our belongings because we were being deported to Afghanistan. We made pleas, cried and screamed as loud as we could and begged them not to deport us. They didn’t care and kept pursuing us to leave the house. I went to the kitchen, took a knife, and started cutting the vein on my left hand. I had a choice between being killed back in Afghanistan post deportation, and killing myself in Norway. I chose to finish my life in Norway instead”.

Norwegian police had escaped the scene when witnessing Karim cutting himself. They had only returned when Karim had collapsed due to severe bleeding. The police then had called the ambulance and shifted Mr. Karim to the hospital. The mother and her daughter were moved to the airport and then transferred to the deportation center (Trandum) right away. Mr. Karim has got 35 stiches later in the hospital, and his left hand is still numb.14001821_10154389535852973_150998488_o “I woke up twice when they were shifting me to the hospital and collapsed back, Added Karim. I had lost a lot of blood on the way and had been unconscious for a long time. In the hospital, they injected me with sedative drug to keep me calm and moved me to the deportation center. Last time I remember i woke up, I was in a taxi with my hands cuffed in my back, my legs tied with each other and my shoulders and arms tied with an extra strap and I was being transferred to deportation center too”

Finally, the family was put on a plane on Saturday 6th of August to be deported to Afghanistan. The family met each other again only at the airport before refoulement . They were put on a passenger flight with the transit routes between Russia and Dubai. The Norwegian police didn’t stop using force against the family after they started to resist deportation despite Karim’s  severe injury on his left hand.

The police kept on using severe force against Mr. Karim and Halima whenever they see any movement. They kept on pushing their heads towards the sit and holding their mouth with extreme force to avoid them making any noise.

Mr. Karim’s 4 year old daughter has been witness to all these cruel treatment, and had been badly traumatized. She would hardly talk to a stranger now, claimed the mother.

Despite all the facts in the ground and the ongoing deteriorating security situation all over Afghanistan, including capital Kabul. The forced expulsion of families in to a war zone arises many questions about the safety and survival of the families, especially the children, who are affected the most in any process. The recent attack on Hazara minority in Kabul on 23rd July 2016, which later claimed near 100 lives injuring more than 250 people, mostly students from various universities in Kabul. The attack claimed to be carried out by ISIS is a new challenge for the Afghan government to the already existing challenges to deal with with. https://kabulblogs.wordpress.com/2016/07/23/blasts-in-kabul-targeting-minority-hazaras-killed-at-least-61-and-injured-hundreds/

For the Hamidi family, the general worsening security situation is not the only fear they have. The family also fears for their lives and are concerned about their future and the future of their daughter because Ms. Halima, Karim’s wife had escaped a forced marriage when she and Karim fled Afghanistan. Halima can be victim of honor killing if they are found anywhere in Afghanistan, in a male dominating society where women are killed by the name of honor on daily bases.

Note: all the names used in the article is not original names to protect the identity of the family.

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Blasts in Kabul targeting minority Hazaras killed at least 61 and injured hundreds

Abdul Ghafoor

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At least 3 blasts targetted a peaceful demonstration happening in Kabul today. The blasts took place only with few moments interval. People had gathered to protest against the injustice policies and discrimination against the Hazara minority in Afghanistan. Hazaras have been systematically persecuted in the past few decades, starting from Abdul Rehman khan to the previous government and the current unity government.

According to sources; number of casualties is feared to be around 61 dead and 207 inured. According to various national and international media outlets, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. Most of the people taking part in today’s demonstration were from the Hazara minority, mostly Shias. Looking in to ISIS’s background and their hatred for Shias globally, it is strongly possible that ISIS could be behind the attack.

The aim of today’s demonstration was to force the government to bring the power line project, also known as TUTA back to its actual route, which was Bamyan Maidan Wardak route (mostly Hazara populated area). The government along with the Brishna company in a discriminatory move changed the route of the power line project from Bamyan to Salang without approval of the donors, and purely due to discriminatory policies against Hazaras of central Afghanistan. Critics say the main reason behind changing the route of the power line project was to put Hazaras in to isolation.

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Around a million Afghans took to the streets of Kabul and marched to the Palace to condemn the beheading of 7 innocent Hazaras in Zabul

By: Abdul Ghafoor

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On 7th of November, loyalist to ISIS/Taliban beheaded 7 passengers who were abducted last month in Zabul province. The passengers were minority Hazaras who have been facing persecution throughout the Afghan history. The victims include 3 men, 3 women and a 9 year old girl. All the victims were beheaded with metal wires.

Afghans staged a million protest in the heart of the capital Kabul to show solidarity with the victims of the incident and say not to terrorism and inhumanity. The protest started at 7 am and continued its route to city, and the Afghan palace. Demonstrators were chanting death to Taliban, death to ISIS and we want peace and justice. The demonstrators peacefully arrived in front of the Afghan palace around 10:00 AM.

Selected MPs from Ghazni province insisted over their demands from the Afghan government on providing better security assurance to its citizens to avoid repetition of such attacks on Hazaras and Afghans over all Afghanistan.

The demonstrators demanded the government officials to come out of the palace and provide assurance to the protesters over better security and safety for the Afghan citizens. Instead, the police on duty around the palace started air shooting, and shooting at the protesters which injured around 8 protesters, the condition of those injured were later reported as stable.

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Afghan government has failed to provide security to its citizens since its establishment. The current government is known as one of the most corrupt and failed governments after the Karzai government. The highways only few kilometers from Kabul are in the control of Taliban and people can hardly travel on the highways of death to go to their provinces now.

According to a recent UN report Taliban’s reach is widest since 2001. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/12/world/asia/afghanistan-taliban-united-nations.html?smid=tw-nytimesworld&smtyp=cur&_r=1

International media coverage of yesterday’s protest highlighted the protest as one of the most peaceful and historic protest in the history of Afghanistan. The protest that ended on the door of Ashraf Ghani inside the Afghan palace forced the President of Afghanistan, the CEO, the interior minister and other high profiled Afghan official to call in a national security meeting and address the issue.

The president later met the protesters and assured of better security and safety for the minority Hazaras in Afghanistan.

International media coverage of the event

Nbcnews :http://www.nbcnews.com/video/afghanistans-hazara-community-protest-inaction-over-killings-564151363568

Aljazeera:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/afghans-protest-killings-hazara-isil-151110135854342.html

BBCnews:

 http: //www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34783511

Reuters:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/10/us-afghanistan-taliban-idUSKCN0SZ19420151110

NYtimes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/12/world/asia/afghanistan-protest-taliban-isis-hazara.html?_r=0

SCMPnews:

http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1878061/demanding-justice-massive-protest-kabul-over-decapitation-shiite-hazaras

ABCAustralia:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-11/thousands-protest-in-afghanistan-against-hazara-murders-in-zabul/6932978

TheGuardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/11/kabul-marchers-demand-justice-for-seven-decapitated-hazaras

WallStreetJournal:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/protesters-storm-afghanistans-presidential-palace-after-beheadings-1447263058

IBTimes:http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/afghanistan-isis-militants-kidnap-kill-7-civilians-amid-heavy-fighting-taliban-1527798

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