Afghan returnee “caught between the choices of re – migration or fighting for survival”

*Hassan was deported from Norway to Afghanistan in 2018. He went to Norway when he was only 15 years old and was deported to Afghanistan when he was 19. According to him, he hadn’t committed any crime and was only deported due to the agreements between the Afghan and the Norwegian government.

Since his return, he has already tried once to flee the country. When he was deported, he was in Kabul for a short time, but didn’t see any chance of survival. So he decided to go to Iran. He stayed in Iran for almost 1 year where he worked and saved some money before he went to Turkey. He lived in Turkey for few months, but was arrested and deported from Turkey back to Afghanistan. He is currently lying on a hospital bed in Daikundi province recovering from the wound he sustained on his right hand as a result of a bullet shot.

The Taliban have been advancing and taking over many districts and have ambushed some major cities like Kanhdahar, Mazar e Sharif and Herat in the past couple of months. They have also attacked some of the safest provinces like Daikundi and Bamyan. The current waves of attacks all around Afghanistan have caused a civil uprising where people are forced to take up arms and fight the terrorist group. Daikundi hasn’t stayed safe from the Taliban attack either and has been attacked on several fronts. People in Daikundi have also been taking up arms to help the Afghan security forces. According to Hassan, the Afghan security forces provided the civilians with weapons and ammunition to stand against the Taliban.

Hassan had also joined the cause to stand against the terrorist group and defend his home town of Daikundi. One night, the Taliban attacked the check post where Hassan was stationed. All of the people present with Hassan at the checkpoint were either killed or injured during that night. Hassan received a bullet in his right hand. Since that incident, he has been thinking of finding ways to get out of the country again and find safety. According to Hassan, he has never witnessed death from so close ever before.

Afghanistan, a war zone

Hassan’s story is the story of so many in Afghanistan today, regardless of whether the person concerned is an ex – asylum seeker or not. This situation was foreseeable and those living in Afghanistan feared the return of such days. Uncertainty and the deteriorating security situation have always been two of the major push factors for the Afghan migrants. But for young boys like Hassan there was a hope they would be granted asylum and protection from the evil. In response, they faced cold heartedness from the European authorities. Thousands of young boys like Hassan have had their faith in Europe betrayed and have been forcefully deported back to Afghanistan.  

For thousands of those deported over the past several years, deportation was not the end of a migration cycle, but start of a new dangerous journey to safety. Some of those I have worked with have already found safety in one of the other European countries and some of those deported are struggling to find a means

 of survival and safety in the country. For Hassan, witnessing death from so close, there is no future for him in this country and his only way out of this disaster is to get out of the country, once again.

He says’ once he recovers and gets out of the hospital, he will come to Kabul and will decide how and where to go.

* HASSAN is not his real name and is used to save his identity

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