Unaccompanied Afghan evacuee youngsters in Qatar limbo


The every day lifetime of unaccompanied Afghan refugee youngsters in Qatar is punctuated by recurring questions, “the place are we going?” and “can I’ve some chips”.

About 200 uprooted younger Afghans arrived in Doha aboard flights from Kabul in latest weeks and are being hosted at a reception centre, the place they grapple with the trauma of their ordeals.

They’re now being cared for by Qatar Charity, a humanitarian organisation that has sought to guard them from prying eyes and hold them out of the reaches of individuals traffickers.

Officers are choosing a path for the way forward for the youngsters who’ve adopted new routines, taking part in soccer, exercising and having fun with arts and crafts.

“It is very exhausting to think about the trauma that they have been by way of,” mentioned an support employee primarily based within the Center East who declined to be named.

“All of them are in a state of shock and trauma, much like what we have seen in locations like Iraq or Syria with youngsters who’ve lived in (Islamic State group) areas.”

The Taliban’s shock takeover rekindled fears amongst Afghanistan’s individuals of a return to the hardline rule between 1996 and 2001 which was marked by public executions, floggings and amputations for misdemeanours.

Many fled, together with the kids, a few of whom can’t recall the circumstances of their abrupt departure from their homeland, whereas others give contradictory accounts of how they got here to be in Qatar.

In accordance with the UN youngsters’s company UNICEF, round 300 unaccompanied youngsters have been evacuated from Afghanistan to Qatar, Germany and different international locations after August 14.

Desperate scramble

Questions are swirling about how they got here to be at Kabul’s airport after which embark on planes sure for Qatar, and drastically completely different lives, however solutions are in brief provide.

The US Embassy in Doha didn’t touch upon the specifics of the youngsters’s case.

A French police officer who was current on the Kabul airport gates described seeing a girl “desperately throw her child into the barbed wire in the direction of the French particular forces who recovered and handed the kid to American medics”.

“The child was handled and evacuated to Doha. He was actually tiny. His mom simply disappeared into the group,” he added.

The officer witnessed different dramatic scenes.

“One man arrived on the gate with three younger youngsters who he handed off as his personal. They have been orphans, he most likely used them to get the gate open, however they have been additionally evacuated.

“Tales like that spotlight the chaos. They’re going to be a part of the historical past of this fiasco.”

Qatar Charity and different businesses at the moment are taking good care of the group who’re principally aged between eight and 17 years outdated, with the youngest housed at a separate facility.

In Doha, youngsters have been settled at lodging, to which AFP was not granted entry, and grouped by age or household group in the event that they arrived collectively.

So far as potential they have been additionally grouped in response to the friendships and bonds cast throughout their respective journeys.

‘Secure group’ 

“They will get connected to different youngsters in a short time. They really feel issues stronger than anybody,” Fatima-Zahra Bakkari, a Moroccan answerable for worldwide cooperation for Qatar Charity.

She singled out two youngsters aged 12 and 13 who had turn out to be inseparable in simply over every week.

According to UNICEF, around 300 unaccompanied children were evacuated from Afghanistan to Qatar, Germany and other countries

In accordance with UNICEF, round 300 unaccompanied youngsters have been evacuated from Afghanistan to Qatar, Germany and different international locations Marwan TAHTAH MOFA/AFP

When the older youngster learnt that they have been quickly to maneuver on, he supplied to maneuver out of the youthful kid’s bed room so they may put together for presumably by no means seeing each other once more.

“All of us cry loads,” Bakkari mentioned concerning the support employees. “We snort loads too,” she added recounting the occasional youngster waking as much as “steal” a packet of crisps.

Regardless of their homely environment, the kids nonetheless face uncertainty.

“We inform them the time will come, we do not know when however it is going to come,” for them to maneuver on, mentioned Bakkari.

Youngsters separated from their dad and mom are “among the many most weak youngsters on the earth”, in response to Henrietta Fore, head of UNICEF.

“It is important that they’re shortly recognized and saved protected throughout household tracing and reunification processes.”

Qatar has supplied shelter, bodily and psychological care, meals and emotional consideration.

“Then comes the fragile half,” mentioned the humanitarian official who requested anonymity.

“The-best case state of affairs is we handle to search out first-degree kin, a grandmother, an aunt, an uncle. However in lots of instances we would not be capable of do this.”

Qatar Charity has arrange a hotline for the youngsters to name their kin, however for these with nobody to name their carers might want to guarantee they’re taken care of within the long-term.

“Then ultimately the kid can combine in a protected group so they’re geared up with the issues they should turn out to be a traditional grownup,” the help employee added.

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