Economy

Facing a dark future, Afghan youth flee the country

By Emran

Young Afghans are continuing to flee Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover of the country last month and amid dwindling job prospects. [Emran/Abdullah Azizi]

HERAT -- More than a month after the Taliban's takeover of the country, young Afghans are continuing to flee Afghanistan amid dwindling job prospects and an uncertain future.

Lacking jobs, many people are forced to abandon their country and go abroad, Rahmatullah, a Takhar province resident, said September 14 while in Zaranj, the capital of Nimroz province, near the border with Iran.

"There were education opportunities for youth in the past," but the young are now facing an uncertain future and many might turn to drugs or crime if they stay behind, said Rahmatullah, who plans to go to Iran.

"It has been more than a month since the Taliban seized power, but we are still living in uncertainty," said Farhad Haidary, a resident of Herat city.

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A number of Afghan youth are seen September 16 in Zaranj, the Nimruz provincial capital, as they prepare to cross to Iran. [Abdullah Azizi]

Most of Afghanistan's educated and influential citizens, including scholars and investors, have left the country out of frustration with the current conditions, he said.

"I, also, am determined to leave Afghanistan," said Haidary, who is university educated, adding that he had no hope for a bright future under the Taliban regime.

'A tragedy for Afghanistan'

Afghanistan's youth, many of whom have been deprived of education and jobs with the return of the Taliban, share Haidary's skepticism.

Farid Ahmad Mirzaee, a resident of Baghlan province now in Zaranj, said Afghanistan has turned into "a prison" where he no longer wishes to live.

"Afghanistan has been ruined, and there is no place to live or work," he said. "Worse than anything, there is no government to care about its people."

"I have never felt so helpless and exhausted as I do today. I am left with no option but to leave my country."

Edress, who is originally from Nangarhar province, said he intends to go to Iran to escape the uncertainty and fear of Taliban rule.

"Thousands of educated young people leave the country every day because of the uncertain future," he said, adding that this is indeed "a tragedy for Afghanistan".

Sayed Edress Husaini, a third-year student who was studying economics at Herat University, said he has no hope for the future after he was forced to drop out.

The Taliban employ only themselves in the government, and the educated and specialised youth are all unemployed, he said.

"I very much doubt if I graduate that the Taliban will hire me for their government," Husaini said.

Job loss

Meanwhile, others like Mariam Ahmadi, a former employee of the Herat Education Department, lost their jobs after the Taliban took power.

Ahmadi said that before the Taliban came, she supported her family with the salary she received.

"The Taliban forbade me from going to the office, and so now I don't have a salary, and I am not even allowed to work in other sectors," she said, adding that she feared a dark and uncertain future for Afghans.

Allah Dad, an officer in the former Afghan National Army (ANA)'s 207th Zafar Corps, also lost his job.

The former government did not pay Dad for the previous two months and the newly appointed Taliban commander of the corps told him that nobody would be paid retroactively, he said.

"I went to the Taliban and said that I was ready to continue my work, but the Taliban commander told me that I could not return to my previous post," Dad said.

He is now forced to do menial labour but still cannot find jobs, so now he must migrate to a neighbouring country to save his family from possible starvation, he added.

Faisal Akbari, a resident of Takhar province who was also in Zaranj, had worked for a human rights international organisation in Takhar for four years before it was forced to stop its operations and evacuate its foreign staff last month.

"I came to Nimroz to go to Iran and work there," he said, adding that there is no work in Afghanistan.

On September 8, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) appealed to other humanitarian organisations to return to Afghanistan after many of them fled from the Taliban's takeover.

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