Afghans stranded in Bosnian camp appalled by Taliban takeover | KWKT


A migrant waits to receive a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine at Lipa camp, outside Bihac, Bosnia, on Thursday, August 26, 2021. More than 6,000 migrants in Bosnia await a chance to cross the border with Croatia, a EU member state. (AP Photo / Kemal Softic)

BIHAC, Bosnia and Herzegovina (AP) – Fawad Khan anxiously scrolled through the information on his cell phone, watching the chaos at Kabul airport as thousands of his fellow Afghans try to flee the Taliban-controlled country to the end of a massive airlift.

Khan, 23, is stranded thousands of miles from his home in a migrant camp in Bosnia, somehow hoping to reach Western Europe – then help his brother in Afghanistan join him.

“The situation in Afghanistan is very bad,” Khan said Thursday at Lipa camp near the town of Bihac in northwestern Bosnia. “So all the people want to get out of Afghanistan… they want to live (a) good future and a good life. ”

Thousands of migrants, many of them Afghans, are stranded in Bosnia and other Balkan countries as they try to reach wealthy European nations in search of a better future. From Bosnia, they try to cross the closely guarded border of neighboring Croatia before leaving.

While many of these Afghan migrants left their homes months, if not years ago, the Western withdrawal and the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan has made them even more vulnerable and concerned about those in the world. they left behind.

The Taliban have vowed to restore security and not to seek revenge on those who oppose it, nor to reverse human rights progress. But Khan is very skeptical.

He said he left Afghanistan two years ago because he couldn’t find a job and his family didn’t have money. The constant violence and threat from the Taliban had already made life difficult: “If you work with Americans, there were Taliban, (they) would not (let) us work with (the Americans).

Now it’s even worse, he said. With the Taliban in power, simple things like going to the doctor or the market have become more difficult.

“I want to go to Europe because I will help my brother bring him to Europe,” Khan said.

It won’t be easy. Already, he has attempted 10 surreptitious entry into Croatia in the past four months and has been forced to return by Croatian police, who have repeatedly been accused of violence against migrants, which authorities have denied. .

Khan said the Croatian police beat him, took his shoes and pushed him into a river and sent him back to Bosnia. The Bosnian authorities provided him with shoes and clothes and moved him to the Lipa tent camp where hundreds of other migrants were already living.

On Thursday, dozens of masked migrants lined up outside the camp tents where medical workers checked their temperatures and vaccinated them against the new coronavirus.

Khan was happy to be vaccinated amid an increase in COVID-19 infections in the Balkans. But his real concern lay elsewhere: while he spoke regularly with his brother on the encrypted WhatsApp messaging, he had not heard from him for two weeks.

And, Khan said, with return to Afghanistan impossible, the closed borders block his own hopes of continuing and possibly helping his brother.

“The Croatian police (is) the big problem we have,” he said, “We want to go fast because the situation is not good in Afghanistan, we want to go fast, we (want) to help our people. families. It’s really hard for us. “

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Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

About Eleanor Blackburn

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