Rasheed. This is the second time Rasheed has tried to move to England, his account makes sobering reading, yet despite this, he continues to smile, happy to talk about his experiences, in the hope that it will improve life for others. Eight hours after I did this interview I watched as the CRS arrested Rasheed for a second day in a row under the bridges. He was released after a couple of hours, a lucky escape as today the first charter flight containing 40 Afghans in the joint operation between UK and France has left from Paris, despite protests from many groups…
“In 2003 I went to England from my home of Afghanistan. I lived in Portsmouth for three and a half years, and then I was deported to Azerbaijan and then Kabul. I left after 4 months to begin my journey back to England. I went to Pakistan, then Iran, through Turkey then Greece. I spent one and a half years in Patras; it is very difficult to cross there with the navy. Then I made it to Albania, but then I was taken back to Greece. I left again, to Macedonia, then Serbia. I spent two and a half months in prison in Serbia. Then I went to Hungary and Austria but on the Swiss border I was caught and spent 1 month in detention there. I went back to Austria and spent another month and a half in a detention centre in Salzburg. I went to Hungary, then back to Austria, then Italy, and finally France. I have been in Calais for 10 days. I want to go back to England because everywhere else there is trouble. ‘Asylum’ in Italy and France means nothing; you have no shelter, no work. In Calais I am arrested all the time, and then released after 1-2 hours. This morning I was arrested.I am afraid to return to Afghanistan.
The Taliban and America are at battle. If you work with the Taliban, America says you are Al Qaida. If you work with America, the
Taliban say why, you are Muslim? America has some control in Kabul, but in the provinces the Taliban rule. It is very dangerous, at night time the Taliban come. They rule the border with Pakistan, where drug smugglers rule. This is 1,400 kilometres long. If I go back I am in danger. The Taliban sent me a letter before I left accusing me of working with America because I wouldn’t help them. In my province there are many CID (Criminal Intelligence Department) agents, everyone hears your words. They come at night. There is no work for me. I am an artist, a designer, but I cannot work in Kabul. I have spent 2 years travelling now, my mind isn’t working anymore. I have lost all my family; I spent all my money trying to get to England, so if I am deported I am in trouble. I like no borders because it means no detention, no deportation, no finger prints.”