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.
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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid