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



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


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.

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.

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


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.

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


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




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.


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.

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 :



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Afghan Minister of Refugees and Repatriation would visit several European countries to prevent forced expulsion

Saturday May 16, 2015

482f0fbd237421281770f0a973163616_XLKabul (BNA) United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres in a meeting with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani here the other day said that the UN’s Refugees Agency would continue to support the programs of Afghanistan government for voluntary repatriation of refugees to their homeland.
Thanking the UNHCR commissioner, the President said that the Government of National Unity is working on a plan to eliminate the terminology of displaced from Afghan literature, saying the government wants the gradual return of refugees to their homeland. He also added that Afghanistan would continue to host those refugees coming from other side of the Durand Line but, won’t allow armed groups to sneak into Afghanistan.

According to another report, the Chief Executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah in meeting with UNHCR commissioner here the other day said that the National Unity Government (NUG) would spare no efforts to solve the refugees’ problems and has been working to find the way for voluntary repatriation of refugees to their country. The UNHCR official however, added that a joint meeting of UN Refugee Agency, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran would be held in near future to discuss the ways and means to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of the Afghan refugees to Afghanistan. Dr. Abdullah also added that Afghan

Minister of Refugees and Repatriates would visit several European countries in near future with the objective to prevent forced expulsion of the Afghan refugees from those countries. President Ashraf Ghani also met with Michael Koch, the German Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan the other day. In this meeting held at the Presidential Palace, both sides discussed various issues of mutual interest including security. Speaking on terrorist activities, President Ghani said, “The threats have changed, terrorists are not bound by any rules or principles and respect no one. They are intent on spreading terror and horror among people.

” President Ghani stated that our security forces that enjoy a full support of their people and the Ulama, defend their country with high valor and courage. President Ghani once again said that the war is imposed on Afghanistan and stressed that while peace remained a fundamental aspiration, the government of Afghanistan is determined to respond war with war. Ambassador Michael Koch lauded President Ghani’s efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan. According to another report, the Minister for Urban Development and Rural Rehabilitation, Nasir Ahmad Durani presented his Ministry’s 100-day working plan to the President in a meeting held in Arg the other day.

The President after receiving the plan instructed the Ministry to put all its projects on its website. President Ghani, moreover, received the 100-day working plan of the Ministry for Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled and after reviewing the plan instructed its Minister Nasrin Oryakhil to overhaul the Ministry’s capacity based on modern standard and contemporary demands.

news courtesy: Batkhtar news

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Afghan minister for refugees and repatriation warns against force returns

Prepared by: Liza Schuster and Abdul Ghafoor

Meeting with Mr Ghulam Mortaza Rassouli. He is Head of the Returnee Department in the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation.

present: Abdul Ghafoor, Liza Schuster, Zia Afif

Today in the morning we met Mr Rasooli in his office in the Ministry. He confirmed that a number of Afghans who had been sent back to Afghanistan in the last couple of weeks had not been accepted at the airport and were returned to the removing countries (Netherlands, Norway). Mr Rassouli said that they had not been allowed to disembark because their removal to Afghanistan was in breech of the current Memorandum of Understanding between the deporting countries and Afghanistan, because for example they were ill or woman without any support in Afghanistan.

Meeting with Minister for Refugees and repatriation Mr. Hossein Alami Balkhi.

Present: Eva Joly, Liza Schuster, Abdul Ghafoor and Zia Afif

In the after we met the Afghan minister for refugees and repatriation. The Minister received us in his office, and in response to a request for clarification about the current situation explained that he had sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be forwarded to those European countries with whom Afghanistan has MoUs enabling the forced removal of Afghan citizens to Afghanistan. The letter has not yet been sent to the partner countries: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently studying it and will discuss it with the Minister for Refugees and Repatriation before sending it to those countries.



In this letter, Minister Balkhi explains that currently these countries are breeching the terms of the MoUs by deporting women and children, as well as those who cannot be returned to their provinces of origin. The minister repeated that it was not reasonable to expect Kabul to be able to receive all those who are forcibly returned (especially when they are from other provinces, and or have been born outside Afghanistan).

The Minister also made the point that the security situation in Afghanistan is not stable. He noted that the Foreign forces had handed over responsibility to the Afghan Security Forces, who are under enormous pressure dealing with the insurgents. He noted that there has been a significant deterioration in security in the past few years since these MoUs were signed, commenting that currently 80% of the country is insecure and unsafe.


Minister Balkhi explained that he had asked all European governments and the Australian government to suspend deportations until the MoUs are renegotiated to reflect the current situation in Afghanistan, and assurances have been received that the new MoUs will be respected. He expressed concern for the immediate future as he is worried that the security situation may get worse before it gets better, in particular as the insurgents are likely to increase attacks substantially as the weather improves.

Before leaving, Mr Balkhi asked the four people present to please use their contacts to pressurize the Norwegian government to stop a charter flight due on 15th March and another from UK. He was particularly keen that Ms Joly take his message to the European Parliament.

To be clear: the Minister is of the opinion that no further deportations should take place until the MoUs have been revised and further decisions are made. The terms of the current MoUs will be strictly adhered to in the meantime – unaccompanied women and children, those with mental and physical problems, those who are particularly vulnerable and those who come from dangerous provinces will definitely not be allowed to disembark at Kabul airport.

Zia Afif: is a social worker from Kent in the UK who support Afghan asylum seekers.

Eva Joly: Is member of the European parliament and chair LIBE, committee for migrants rights in Europe

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Afghan minister for refugees and repatriation ” stop deportation to Afghanistan “

Interview with the minister conducted by: Mona Bentzen ” Journalist, artist and human rights activist from Norway” By: Abdul Ghafoor Newly elected minister for refugees and repatriation Mr. Hussain Alami Balkhi opposes all deportations to Afghanistan, especially women and children. In an audio interview the Minister urges all the deporting countries to halt deportations to Afghanistan. The ministers says; situation in Afghanistan was getting better after 2011 that is why MOUs were signed with some European countries including Norway to return those Afghans back to Afghanistan who are coming from safe provinces and they are able to return back to their own provinces. In the MOU it was clearly stated that those refugees who are coming from dangerous provinces won’t be returned. It was also agreed in the MOU that women and children won’t be returned back to Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan has changed now. Most of those who are being returned are coming from the provinces that are very dangerous and those who are being returned can’t go back to their provinces. That is why we oppose deportations from Norway and all other European countries to Afghanistan.   As a result we returned a woman and two of her children back to Norway last week. But, unfortunately later we heard that they were mistreated on the way back to Norway. Few days ago a family of 3 were deported to Afghanistan. Father, mother and a child. The family comes from Ghazni, one of the most dangerous provinces. I sent a letter to the Norwegian Embassy in Kabul explaining the situation of their province and requested them to return the family back to Norway. The family is currently staying and waiting in Jangalak ( Afghan returnee receiving center ) in Kabul until the Norwegian Embassy and the Norwegian government agrees to return them back to Norway. Considering the current situation of Afghanistan we sent a letter through the foreign ministry to all those countries with whom the MOUs were signed to revise the MOUs and do not return anyone back to Afghanistan. whether they are single or with family, until we make new agreements. They shouldn’t deport anyone because we can’t take care of them here.


I have long term plans, but we have to wait until we can execute those plans. I am sure if there is opportunities in Afghanistan, the Afghans will return back to their country voluntarily. We have requested the deporting countries through letters not to deport anyone, because we can not take care of them here. Literally if they deport anyone back to Afghanistan we would not accept them in the airport and they will have to take them back. The reason behind doing this is that in the MOUs that were signed with receiving countries. It was clearly stated’ that only those will be returned back to Afghanistan whose provinces are safe and they are able to live in those provinces. But, most of the people who have been deported since now are from the provinces that are very dangerous to live in and it is impossible for the deportees to go and live in those provinces. I have already requested the Norwegian Embassy in Kabul to convince the authorities in Norway to return the family back who are currently living in Jangalak. Currently around 7 millions Afghans are living in exile. It is not sensible to say that all these people should be returned back to Kabul. Norwegian authorities argue that if the provinces that the deportees come from are dangerous. Then they can be returned back to Kabul, because Kabul is safe. There is no logic behind this kind of statements. It is not possible to re-settle 7 million returnees who are living in exile only in Kabul. Kabul does not have the capacity to take care of these many returnees. It will also be insensible to say that only those who have been returned from Norway should be re-settled in Kabul. It is clearly stated in the MOUs that they should be re-settled back to the provinces they have come from, not Kabul.

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Afghan refugees in Belgium are back on the streets

By: Abdul Ghafoor

picture courtesy: Armaan Zeedi

After many months of demonstrations at the end of last year, Afghan refugees in Belgium are once again on the streets. Hundreds of Afghans are living with an uncertain future in Belgium and are asking for their rights to remain in Belgium through peaceful demonstrations.

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Afghanistan opposes deportation of Afghan families and children from Norway

By: Abdul Ghafoor


For some time Norway has been one of the leading deporting Scandinavian countries at the moment forcibly returning an average of  6 to 8 people every week in recent years. However this number has dramatically increased to 20 to 25 in a week in the past few months, including families.

Most worrying recent family deportations include woman without their husbands, or parents without all their children.

Murtaza and his family went to Norway in 2009 and their asylum was rejected in 2011. They also failed to get asylum after the appeal in the high court. However they did not give up and went to the court again. As a result the parents and under age children were granted asylum in 2014, but two of the elder sons who were over age were refused. Murtaza was deported alone back to Afghanistan 6 months ago to a city where he didn’t know anyone or didn’t have any network.

Now he is back in Greece and is trying to get back to his family.

Karim and Nabi were deported along with their mother even though the father wasn’t at home at the time of the police raid. It is many months since the mother and two children arrived in Kabul, but things are getting worse for them day by day. According to Afghan culture, the men take care of all the shopping and issues outside the home. But in this family’s case the mother has to do all the work outside and inside the home.

During a recent call, she was crying on the phone : ” the children are sick and the problems are increasing day by day. When I go to the shops man stare at me and wonder why I come to the shops and do not send a man for the shopping. There are hardly any woman seen in the bazaar here. If there are any they are with their Mahram (father, brother, husband or older son). They think badly about me. We are living in a bad situation here “.

However the Afghan authorities have now responded to the statement of the Norwegian Justice minister saying all the Afghan families and children with rejections to their asylum claims will be forcibly deported back to Afghanistan The Afghan foreign ministry has now strongly opposed with the decisions and has urged Norway to stop deportation of families and children back to Afghanistan

According to a source close to the Norwegian Embassy in Kabul. they are having hard time with deporting Afghan families back to Afghanistan now. This means that if the Afghan foreign ministry insist on refusing to accept the families the Norwegian government wishes to return, it can offer great hope for dozens of families who are living in the Norwegian camps in limbo. However, we urge the Afghan foreign ministry and authorities to insist that the Norwegian government take back the families who have already been deported and  who the Afghan government cannot protect.

( the names used above are not the original names )

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Sweden injects asylum seekers during deportations

Abdul Ghafoor

Radio Sweden has reported on returnees being injected before deportation to on their destination routes.  Reports suggest; most of the returnees who resists deportation are injected to stop resistance. This issue was raised on Radio Sweden program called Callibar.

After Radio Sweden highlighted the issue in one of the programs called Callibar. They say; now the issue of using force and injecting returnees is taken to the court to investigate this inhumane behavior by the Swedish border police.

I working with returnees agree with the issue raised in Radio Sweden . I have witnessed many cases when the returnees has reported to me about them being injected when they have tried to resist deportation. Mahil is one of the cases i reported about in the earlier stage of my work with returnees. He was returned back to Kabul on 19th May 2013 and was unconscious for the following two days when i was regularly visiting him.


Link to the article                                                                                                              In another case, a woman. mother of two was also injected when she wanted to resist the deportation. She was dragged to the plane as animals and sent back to Afghanistan on a charter flight with many other returnees.

Use of force, torture and injecting returnees is now being a common tool for the Swedish police while deporting returnees back to their countries. Therefor, Sweden as being one of the countries that leads human rights morals and values, must interrogate the inhumane act of abuse the Swedish border police and put an end to use of force, and force deportation to countries like Afghanistan or elsewhere.

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