‘Fake’ visa stops Afghan men’s escape to the West

One of them said he did not want t0 return to his country as he feared he would be killed by taliban.

Written by Shalini Narayan | New Delhi | Published: November 19, 2014 1:26:31 am
They were trying to board a flight to Indonesia on a genuine passport. But their visa had been tampered with.  (Source: Express archive) They were trying to board a flight to Indonesia on a genuine passport. But their visa had been tampered with. (Source: Express archive)

Two Afghan men from Kabul, who were caught travelling on “fake visas” told immigration and police officials that they feared for their lives back home and did not wish to return.

“The Taliban strip-search people and kill at random. I have seen people being beheaded. Afghanistan is no longer my home. They will kill me if I return. I don’t want to go back,” the older of then men is reported to have told the police when they were arrested at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on Monday.

Officials said the duo arrived at Terminal 3 in the morning and were headed to Indonesia on genuine passports when they were were intercepted by immigration authorities after their visas to Indonesia appeared to have been tampered with.

If the law takes its course here, the two will have to return to Afghanistan.

The two, aged 18 and 30 years, were then questioned and handed over to the IGIA police on charges of forgery and cheating. It was during the questioning that the duo revealed that their travel to Indonesia was not to carry out any illegal activity but to get refugee status after fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Airport sources said the two informed the police that an agent in Afghanistan told them he could help them escape and attain refugee status in another country where they would get a job and safety. They were told that they would be given refugee status in Indonesia by the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) and sent to either the USA or UK. The two, who are daily labourers, agreed to the deal.

Reportedly, while the agent initially demanded $700 (Rs 40,000) from the men, the deal was finally fixed at $400.

The duo told police that the agent arranged for two passports and told them that they would be received by a contact in New Delhi at the IGIA.

As promised, the two were received by the contact who then took them to Hauz Rani where they stayed in a rented room for three days. On Monday, the two were given their passports with the visas to Indonesia.

The agent accompanied the duo till Terminal 3 where he left them. Investigators said they were scanning CCTV footage to ascertain the identity of the agent.

A senior police officer said “As soon as they were arrested, they began begging us not send them back to their country because they said they feared for their lives. They kept telling us that they wanted to flee as they had seen people being beheaded.”

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