Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Afghan Leaders Try to Halt Exodus, but Pleas Ring Hollow

By MUJIB MASHAL, NYT, NOV. 23, 2015

KABUL, Afghanistan — President Ashraf Ghani took a stage here last week and urged the crowd of young people before him not to join a huge exodus from Afghanistan, despite rising insecurity and economic hardship.

The gates of Western nations are closed on us, Mr. Ghani said. “Our dignity, our respect is in Afghanistan.”

To many Afghans, though, that rang hollow.

That is not only because Mr. Ghani’s path to power and prominence was paved abroad, as he lived and worked in the United States for much of his adult life. The addresses of the families of a majority of his government’s senior officials read like an atlas of world capitals, near and far — just not Kabul.

“How will they understand our pain?” said Mohamed Abas, 19, a roadside mechanic in Kabul, as he took a break from his lunch of fries and bread. Having entered Iran, Mr. Abas was turned back from the border with Turkey last month as he tried to make his way to Norway, where he had heard there were jobs.

“Their own children study, live and are having fun in Europe and America,” Mr. Abas said. “They cruise in their armored Lexus in front of us and they don’t even slow down — we eat their dirt. And if we complain, they smash us in the mouth.”

(More here.)

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