Sixteen members of an Afghan family who fled Taliban death threats have been trapped in Istanbul airport for the past two weeks, and thousands more refugees are traveling overland seeking safety in Turkey, as the situation of Security in Afghanistan deteriorates rapidly after the withdrawal of US and NATO forces.
The family, from the city of Herat, decided to leave the country in June after Taliban forces shot dead a relative in the street. Several of them work with international aid organizations on issues such as women’s rights and have continued to face threats.
They decided to circumvent the strict visa rules for Afghans in most countries by spending their savings on fan passes for Euro 2020 for soccer matches held in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, hoping to apply for asylum to his arrival.
However, the family was turned away on their connecting flight in Istanbul on June 22, and attempts to apply for asylum and international protection in Turkey have since been repeatedly denied, a family member told The Guardian.
“We were trapped in the international transit area for 16 days,” said 28-year-old Farzad, who asked that the family’s last name be withheld to protect their safety. “All the people we asked to help us said that it is not their job and that we need to be on Turkish soil to apply for refugee status.”
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