News / Asia

More Afghans Seek Asylum as Troops Prepare to Withdraw

Afghan Asylum Seekers Surge as Western Troops Withdrawal Nearsi
X
April 01, 2013 3:05 PM
For decades, some Afghans have fled insecurity at home by taking a risky journey abroad to claim asylum. As worries grow about what will happen after foreign troops withdraw in 2014, more people are considering taking a gamble on a future far from home. Afghans know there are perils and payoffs in the journey. Bethany Matta in Kabul speaks to Afghans about the perils and payoffs of the journey.
TEXT SIZE - +
Bethany Matta
— For decades, some Afghans have fled insecurity at home by taking a risky journey abroad to claim asylum. As worries grow about what will happen after foreign troops withdraw in 2014, more people are considering taking a gamble on a future far from home. Afghans know there are perils and payoffs in the journey.

Afghan asylum seekers arrive in Indonesia, thousands of kilometers short of their goal for a new life in Australia. Last year authorities in Canberra reported the number of arriving asylum seekers rose by a third, and the largest single group were Afghans.

Many of them are young, educated and have plenty of work experience, like Najibullah, who asked we conceal his appearance.

“I want to go to Australia. There are my friends, classmates, they are working there part-time and also they are studying at university, as well,” he said.

Expensive, dangerous escape
                                                                                                  
The price for the journey can run as much as $20,000. With many asylum seekers traveling secretly in unsafe boats, however, hundreds die annually from starvation or drowning.

Despite the risks at sea, there are signs that the number of Afghans leaving the country is increasing, as foreign troops prepare to leave, said General Aminullah Amarkhil, the head of Interpol at the Afghan Interior Ministry.

“Huge numbers of Afghans are busy working with these troops, around 40,000 to 50,000," said Amarkhil. "They speak English and know how to use computers well. When NATO leaves, these people will not only be jobless, but those who have worked with military organizations or NGOs [non-governmental organizations] think it will be dangerous for them to stay in the country.”

Three months ago, Mohammad Akram's 15-year-old son Yahya left for Iran with relatives. The boy made his way to a United Nations school in Turkey, and that is when Akram received the call.

“I told him he should return to the U.N. school he was studying at, but he wouldn't accept what I was saying. He said he wanted to go to Turkey so he could make his way to Europe,” said Akram.

The following night was the last time Akram spoke to his son. Yahya called home to say goodbye and asked his father to pray for him. Akram learned his son was lost on a boat along with 29 others. He still does not know what happened, despite paying government investigators.

“But there has been no result. It’s a shame for them to do nothing for us… What can I do? I lost my son and I spent money to find his corpse,” said Akram.

Akram and his family are struggling to come to terms with the death. He said the family's only remaining wish is to have their son's body back.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid