Afghans seeking to leave the country via illegal paths face murder, torture and harassment by human traffickers, local officials said.
“There have been cases of torture and murder registered with us. The refugees have even been martyred,” said Sayed Hazratullah Zaeem, a commissioner at the Islam Qala port.
Dozens of youth who have returned from Islam Qala port, between Iran and Afghanistan, said that the human traffickers took everything from them and then tortured them.
“They made us run until morning. The checkpoint captured us,” said Meer Ahmad, a resident of Badghis.
“Due to the fear of the government, and to reach their destination fast, they press the individuals under the chairs,” said Abdullah, a resident of Badghis.
This comes as videos were posted on social media showing Afghan youth being tortured by human traffickers, which caused a widespread reaction among Afghans.
“The Afghans who want us to go (to Iran), they returned back after being tortured. You and our citizens have seen the videos on social media. Also, in Turkey, our refugees are being harassed by the thieves,” said Abdullah Qayoum, an official of the department of Refugees and Repatriation of Herat.
Meanwhile, some analysts named poverty as the main reason for the fleeing of Afghan youth.
“Those who leave Afghanistan through illegal paths and go to foreign countries, they don’t have proper legal support. And therefore the human traffickers will do whatever they can,” said Mohammad Rafeeq Shaheer, a political analyst.
The caretaker government has banned Afghans from going abroad via illegal paths; hundreds of Afghans are trying to leave the country on daily basis.