About 100 Balkh youth daily attempt to reach Europe
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Civil society activists on Thursday claimed as many as 100 youth from northern Balkh province were daily leaving the country though legal and illegal ways to seek asylum in foreign countries, especially Europe.
But provincial officials rejected the claim, however they acknowledge some youth in Balkh wanted to go to European countries due to insecurity, poor economy and unemployment. They also did not reject the presence of human smugglers in the province.
Abdul Qadir Misbah, head of New Line social network, told Pajhwok Afghan News they were investigating the immigration issue of Afghan youth in Balk since the start of 2015.
He said their investigations, research and surveys revealed that several groups of human traffickers were present and active in Balkh district.
He alleged within the vicinity of foreign consulates in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital, human traffickers were busy attracting youth to go to foreign countries.
Mohammad Amin, a resident of Mazar-i-Sharif, told Pajhwok Afghan News, he had finished school and was now trying to migrate to a foreign country where he could continue higher education and also work part time.
He cited poverty to embark on a legal trip to a foreign country, saying he would attempt to reach Europe through an illegal way.
“I will first go to Iran and then Turkey and from there I will reach Europe,” he said. He said if he joined the human smugglers from Afghanistan, the journey to Europe would cost him $15,000 and it would cost him 10,000 if he joined the smugglers in Iran.
Some youth in Balkh, however, considered seeking asylum in European countries as hobby not an escape from poverty and lawlessness.
“I wonder if people who leave for Europe through illegal ways are not informed of the deaths that take place on the way,” said a Balkh university student, Ahmad Javed.
He said though the country’s economic situation had deteriorated during the past two years, it did not mean one should put his life in risk to get rid of it.
The provincial council chief, Dr. Mohammad Afzal Hadid, said the Afghans should support the government in preventing human traffickers from continuing their business.
He acknowledged several people were leaving the country on a daily basis, but he could not confirm if their number was near or above 100.
The governor’s spokesman, Munir Farhad said “If we do any type of calculation, it is not believable that 100 youth are every day leaving the province for Europe.”
He accepted joblessness had increased in the country, but said there were reports that the youth who had reached European countries were trying to return back.
Farhad said like other parts of the country there must be human traffickers in Balkh, but he would not accept they were active in districts.
He said they were preventing the youth from leaving the country and in this regard a campaign had been launched through the Balkh Radio and Television, prayer leaders, elders and other means.
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