People in Afghanistan – caught between war, terror and corona

By Mohammad Nazir Momand (research) and Michael Seifert (text)

On November 16th, 2020, a small demonstration against a deportation flight to Afghanistan, planned for that day, took place in Tübingen. Young, single men were supposed to get deported, some of them had already been put into detention pending deportation.

Mohammad Nazir Momand, an editor with tünews INTERNATIONAL, was at the demonstration. “Around 40 people were there, both Afghan refugees and German volunteers,” he reports. He sees the planned deportations in correlation with the contracts between the EU and the Federal Government with Afghanistan in 2016. According to it, a condition for the billions of dollars of development assistance is the willingness to take back refugees. “The Afghan government in turn has to guarantee safety and jobs for the returners,” says Mohammad.

However, this is not working, as is shown through an associate’s case. “He was deported three years ago, even though he was well integrated. He had passed the B1 language test and was working. He was collected directly from his place of work. They took his laptop, after all he came to Germany without one. I often hear from him. He lives in Kabul and does not feel safe at all. He is only able to survive because of his uncle, with whom he lives.” Mohammad adds that his associate is so desperate that he will try to come back to Germany. It is possible that he is already on his way, as he has not been reachable for some time.

“Afghanistan is supposed to be a safe country? Why are there reports about terrorist attacks every other day then? All my friends and relatives in Afghanistan don’t feel safe,” says Mohammad. He refers to the attack on November 4th on the University of Kabul with 35 casualties and one before that on October 25th on a language course with 31 casualties. “ISIS confessed to these attacks. ISIS as well as the Taliban want to prevent the education of women, which by now is completely natural in Kabul.” A week ago, there were again a lot of casualties, when ISIS dropped bombs on a residential area. The Global Peace Index 2020 by the Institute for Economics & Peace in Sydney lists Afghanistan as the most dangerous country in the world, behind Yemen, South Sudan and Syria.

The deportation flight was cancelled, as the Afghan side became concerned about the corona-situation, as reported by Pro Asyl. According to projections by the Afghan Federal Ministry for Health, about one third of the 35 million citizens is infected during this second wave, even up to 50 percent in Kabul. Mohammad confirms, “During the first wave, quarantine worked. Now, people don’t accept it, as there is no support from the government. They can’t keep their distance; they have to earn money somehow and get food so they don’t starve.” Additionally, there are traditions about living together. “Someone who has corona is ashamed and can’t show it. If one doesn’t hug as greeting, it is seen as very rude. It is as if one is ignoring the other.”

Mohammad concludes, “The people are tired, for almost 40 years there has not been peace. They are caught between war, terror and the pandemic. It is as if they are in the middle of a bridge and they can’t move in either direction. Because both directions would lead them towards problems, no matter if they turned towards the government or the Taliban.” Mohammad doesn’t have a lot of faith in the peace talks. “The negotiating parties sit in a nice hotel in Qatar and have good food. As both parties don’t accept each other, they can’t come to an agreement.”

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Foto: Kabul/WikimediaCommons

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