Global Statistics

All countries
266,215,281
Confirmed
Updated on December 6, 2021 10:42 am
All countries
238,100,552
Recovered
Updated on December 6, 2021 10:42 am
All countries
5,273,301
Deaths
Updated on December 6, 2021 10:42 am

Global Statistics

All countries
266,215,281
Confirmed
Updated on December 6, 2021 10:42 am
All countries
238,100,552
Recovered
Updated on December 6, 2021 10:42 am
All countries
5,273,301
Deaths
Updated on December 6, 2021 10:42 am

Afghan refugees enjoy Albania but stare at Canada

GOLEM, Albania (AP) – An Afghan teacher calls Albania “paradise” while a former Afghan government official can’t get enough of the “freedom” that exists in the tiny Western Balkan nation from which they were evacuated after the Taliban took over their homeland. .

Others are more pensive. An Afghan woman mentoring orphaned girls laments the end of her project and the plight of former students and women under their new Taliban rulers, while a businessman misses his company at home.

All are in limbo, awaiting visas to the United States at the tourist resort of Kolaveri on Golem Beach, 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Albania’s capital, Tirana. And all share the same dream: to go from the US to Canada, where they hope to build a better future.

The resort hosts 571 Afghan refugees picked from their “terrifying and chaotic” country, as Fareidoon Hakimi, who has become the community’s leader, described Afghanistan.

A group of 125 Afghans, including judges, cyclists, journalists, TV presenters, human rights activists, family members of Afghan diplomats, artists, law enforcement officers and scientists landed in Albania on October 10. 13, assisted by IsrAID, an Israeli aid organization.

Albania has sheltered up to 2,000 Afghan refugees, all housed in hotels and resorts. They are supposed to stay there for a year or more until US authorities finish processing their special immigration visa.

“The country of Albania on earth / Its land is like heaven,” is part of a poem written and read by 61-year-old poet and teacher Sadiq Zarei to visiting Associated Press reporters. “They saved the shama’il and all of us,” it concludes, referring to a collection of sacred stories about the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad compiled by a 9th-century scholar.

Hakimi said everyone at the resort could now pray in peace there or go to the nearby mosque, especially on Fridays. Albania’s 2.8 million people are mostly Muslim, living in harmony with the Orthodox and Catholic communities.

Hakimi, a 36-year-old former public administration adviser in a province near Kabul, talked for hours about the story of how they fled Afghanistan.

“People never expected this to happen so suddenly,” he said of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

With his wife, sons aged 2 and 5, and his mother, Hakimi reached Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, where they tried to cross into Tajikistan. There are about 125 people like him that the Taliban are trying to stop. After a few days, they went to Mazar-i-Sharif airport, flew to Tajikistan and had to wait three days in the terminal until Albania offered them visas and IsrAID chartered the plane.

At the resort, Hakimi and 17 other section leaders work relentlessly to provide food, entertainment, psychological support and other basic needs for the relocated community. He and others enjoyed the freedom they had been given and praised the warmth of the Albanian staff.

“We would not have gone through this difficult moment without their open welcome,” Hakimi said.

In a fenced and guarded beach resort, children play while parents stay at the coffee shop, strolling or strolling on the beach. A young Afghan woman studying on a laptop. Many gather in groups to spend the day in Tirana or the nearby town of Durres.

When Mohammad Javed Khan, who works as a clerk in the Afghan parliament, was asked what they had found in Albania, the immediate answer was “Freedom.”

“The freedom that every human being needs; relaxation, sleep,” he said. “We can sleep without fear.”

Security and fear about family members are major concerns for Afghans trying to escape. Khan, who came with his wife and 3-month-old daughter, said he had finally relaxed.

“No one will take our daughter,” the 27-year-old said. “No one will carry out a suicide bombing attack. … We fled because there was no security. “

Leqa Fahimi arrived with her husband, 9 year old daughter and 5 year old son, who missed home and wanted to come back. In Afghanistan, she works with international non-governmental organizations that care for orphaned girls.

“I teach them about kindness, about friendship, self-confidence, how to share their own story with the world,” said Fahimi, adding in a desperate voice: “We have a lot of activities for the girls. And now… I don’t know where they are.”

The refugees try to keep themselves busy, helping the resort staff and each other, organizing sports or entertainment activities for the children.

Hakimi expects confirmation of the special application visa by the US government.

“We have all the good stuff here that we’ve lost at home. But I want to go to Canada, where my brothers and sisters are.”

So did Fahimi, the teacher of the poet, and scribe, Khan.

“We would love to go to Canada because Canada has the best immigration policy and part of my family lives in Canada,” Khan said.

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Follow all AP stories in Afghanistan on https://apnews.com/hub/Afghanistan

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Follow Llazar Semini on https://twitter.com/lsemini

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