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Iqabl narrates his ordeal during illegal migration

Iqabl narrates his ordeal during illegal migration

author avatar
8 Mar 2020 - 15:41
Iqabl narrates his ordeal during illegal migration
author avatar
8 Mar 2020 - 15:41

 

KABUL (Pajhwok): Iqbal, 19, lost his one hand during work in asylum days in Turkey and he had to return back to his country with his dreams destroyed.

Who is Iqbal:

Hailing from Shewaki village of Bagrami district in Kabul province, the 19-year old has studied until 7th class. He has four sisters and two brothers and his father owns a car business.

Like other thousands of Afghans, Iqbal also decided to migrate illegally from the country.

Iqbal’s youth and difficulties during illegal migration

In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Iqbal said with his father’s help, he found a travel agent who promised taking him to Iran.

“Initially, my family did not allow me to migrate illegally, but due to fighting, poverty and instability in the country, my family agreed that I should go illegally to France via Iran where I should work and send money home,” he said.

He said he started his journey to Iran in March, 2018 and his father told the travel agent to take care of his son during the journey to Iran.

“The travel agent was only responsible to take me to Iran and for the rest of upcoming journey, my cousin had made preparations,” he said.

Spring was in the air when Iqbal started his journey from home and reached Kampany area of Kabul with his uncle from where he had to travel to Nimroz province.

Nimroz province shares border with Iran’s Sistan province and most travel agents transfer migrants to Iran from there.

Iqbal was a teenager but was ready for all difficulties and problems that could come his way to Iran and Turkey.

“My mother was crying when I was leaving home, my little brother was shocked, but my father gave me confidence and my uncle was in hurry to go to Kampany.”

Unhappy to leave family and endure difficulties ahead, Iqbal was left with no option by fighting, insecurity and poverty to migrate.

He said after 10 hours of journey he reached Nimroz province and without any break, they started another journey in a prick up vehicle to Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.

After arriving Taftan area of Baluchistan, the travel agent told them to move towards a mountain between Iran and Pakistan.

He said they walked in the mountain for about 20 hours, seeing bodies around, facing hunger, thirst and other difficulties.

Iqbal went silent as he recalled the difficult time during his journey in that mountain and started speaking after a break.

“Travel in the mountain was very difficult, no one could get help from others, you had to continue walking or die, there were bodies, we stepped on the bodies to reach our target,” he said.

“After 20 hours, we reached another side of the mountain where we a pick up vehicle was awaiting to take us to Tehran.”

“A tarpaulin covered the top of the vehicle on us, the car was moving very fast and we reached Tehran in a few hours,” he said.

He added his cousin was living in Esfahan. “Those who had money were helped by traffickers and taken to Esfahan and fortunately I and my uncle had enough money and we faced no problem,” Iqbal said.

He said they spent six days in Esfahan and his cousin talked with a trafficker to help guide and accompany us to Turkey. They arrived in Turkey with ease and resided in Waan Camp with other refugees there.

“My cousin was living in Istanbul, he came to the camp and took us with him to Istanbul,” he said.

Iqbal could not understand Turkish language and had no work for three weeks but his cousin found him a job in a coal factory.

“It was a very bad place, no one knew us and all people did their work, more than 200 Afghans were working there,” he said.

How Iqbal lost his hand?

Iqbal said he was working in Turkey to earn money and travel to France. “The work in the factory was very hard, I spent three and half a months there, then I went to another factory of plastics,” he said.

“On that day, my uncle turned off the machine to prepare breakfast and I left my machine on until the breakfast is prepared, I continued working when I touched the button of the machine, it was full and it cut my half in half,” he said.

As tears rolled on his face, Iqbal said, “I shouted and a Syrian man pushed me back and as my uncle came close to me he went unconscious and fell to the ground, there was no one on my side, later the factory owner took me to his car and threw me in a park.”

“I did not understand what happened to me, I lost a high amount of blood, I tied my hand with my blouse which was contaminated with salt, I cried so loud when the salt touched my wounds, I cried a lot, no one helped me, I stood and walked and fell in front of a shop,” Iqbal added.

He cleaned his tears and continued, “Everything turned dark for me, some people gathered around me, many people took pictures of me, no one helped me or took me to hospital.”

He said nobody allowed him to be hospitalized because he had no travel documents, but then a Turkish policeman used his own documents and helped him hospitalized.

After three days, he returned to consciousness in hospital and contacted his another uncle in Afghanistan to inform his uncle who traveled with him to Turkey.

“My uncle came to hospital, and I got well after sometimes. I stayed in Turkey for 18 months but the Afghan Consulate General and the Turkish government did not help me to stay there, so I had no option but to return to Afghanistan,” he said.

Iqbal said he recently returned to Afghanistan, with his world destroyed and his dreams tarnished.

Hafizullah: I fell unconscious on seeing Iqbal’s hand was cut

Hafizullah, 23, Iqbal’s uncle who suffered all difficulties with Iqbal on the way, said he had enough bitter memories of their stay in Turkey but the most bitter memory was Iqbal’s hand cutting.

He said, “When I saw Iqbal hand was cut off by machine, he went unconscious and after coming to senses, I asked the factory owner about Iqbal and he told me Iqbal was in hospital for treatment.”

“What I would tell Iqbal’s mother, why I did not take care of him,” the uncle thought with himself after he was told about Iqbal.

Hafizullah found Iqbal in hospital after three days but he was not allowed to meet him in the hospital.

He said, “After very struggle, I was able to see Iqbal in the hospital, and after his recovery, they stayed for some more time in Turkey. However, they remained unemployed and unable to go French and then later decided to go back to Afghanistan.”

Rahimullah, another uncle of Iqbal, told Pajhwok that the ongoing conflict, suicide bombings, insecurity and clashes forced them to allow Iqbal and Hafizullah to go to Turkey.

He said had the security situation been stable and normal, they would not have allowed Iqbal and Hafizullah to go Turkey.

Shakrullah Lodin, human rights campaigner and supporter of Afghan refugees in London, told Pajhwok that most youths traveled to western countries via trafficking due to insecurity.

He said the number of Afghan refugees aged between 12 and 18 years had increased in Europe.

Ministry of Refugee and Reparation: Most of Afghans migrated due to insecurity

Abdul Basit Ansari, spokesman for MoRR, told Pajhwok that a majority of Afghans illegally migrated aboard due to the ongoing conflict.

He said currently around 6.5 million Afghans lived as immigrates aboard mostly in neighboring in Pakistan and Iran.

According to him, about 500,000 Afghans returned to the country last year and assisted in various parts of the country.

He said, “Large number of youths who travelled aboard illegally faced difficulties and returned after their targeted country did not accept them.”

Experts: Unemployment and instability behind migration

Aminullah Shariq, social affairs expert, told Pajhwok that insecurity and unemployment forced the youths to leave the country. Shariq believed once the peace process succeeded, all Afghans aboard would return to their country.

Result

This was not only Iqbal who left the country due to insecurity and faced problems, but thousands of Afghans had lost their lives and families while traveling illegally to Europe countries.

The process of traveling illegally is not over yet, but if peace takes place in the country, then the migration will come to an end.

Nh/mds/pk/ma

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