Afghans are caught within the Bosnian camp in the course of the Taliban takeover | World information

By KEMAL SOFTIC, Associated Press

BIHAC, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) – Fawad Khan fearfully scrolled down the news on his cellphone, watching the chaos at Kabul airport as thousands of his Afghan compatriots attempt a massive airlift from the Taliban-controlled country in the waning days of a massive airlift escape.

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

“The situation in Afghanistan is very bad,” said Khan on Thursday in the Lipa camp near Bihac in northwestern Bosnia. “So every people wants to leave Afghanistan … they want (a) good future and a good life.”

Thousands of migrants, including many Afghans, have been stranded in Bosnia and other Balkan countries while trying to reach rich European countries in search of a better future. From Bosnia they try to cross the closely guarded border to neighboring Croatia before moving on.

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While many of these Afghan migrants left their homeland months or even years ago, the withdrawal from the West and the rapid takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban have made them even more vulnerable and worried about those who stayed behind.

The Taliban have promised to restore security and not take revenge on their opponents or retract progress on human rights. But Khan is very skeptical.

He said he left Afghanistan two years ago because he couldn’t find a job and his family had no money. The constant violence and the threat from the Taliban had made life difficult even then: “If you work with Americans, there was Taliban, (they) did not (let) us work with (Americans).”

It was worse now, he said. With the Taliban in power, simple things like going to the doctor or going to the market have become more difficult.

“I want to go to Europe because I’m going to help my brother get him to Europe,” said Khan.

It will not be easy. He has already tried to enter Croatia clandestinely ten times in the past four months and has been pushed back by Croatian police, who have been repeatedly subjected to allegations of violence against migrants, which officials have denied.

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

On Thursday, dozens of migrants in masks lined up in front of tents in the camp where medical staff checked their temperatures and vaccinated them against the new coronavirus.

Khan was delighted to be vaccinated amid a spike in COVID-19 infections in the Balkans. But his real concern was elsewhere: While he used to speak regularly to his brother via the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp, he has not heard from him for two weeks.

And Khan said that since a return to Afghanistan is impossible, closed borders are blocking his own hopes of moving on and eventually helping his brother.

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

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