Germany launches campaign in Kabul to deter refugees

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Kabul (dpa) – Germany launched a campaign in Afghanistan on Sunday to deter refugees from paying criminals to organize the long and often deadly journey they would have to take to start a new life in Europe.

A couple of posters appeared in the capital Kabul with the message in both Dari and Pashto, the country’s main languages, “You are leaving Afghanistan: Are you certain?”

The billboards include a hashtag and a link to a Facebook page called Germany in Afghanistan with information on migration laws, among other posts.

“Do not believe the rumours and false information deliberately spread by human traffickers about the allegedly easy trip and the easy life in Germany,” the most recent post on the page read Sunday.

“Do not risk your lives by trying to flee to Europe,” the message said, while adding that human traffickers are criminals who are only interested in money.

The human traffickers “don’t tell the truth and don’t care about human lives,” it said.

The German ambassador to Afghanistan has been giving TV interviews on the migrant issue recently, but Sunday’s billboards are the start of what appears to be a countrywide campaign against irregular migration.

Residents of Kabul are conflicted about the deterrent posters.

“I think this sort of advertisement helps people to think about their plans to migrate,” says Abdul Matin, a shopkeeper near one of the billboards.

He says he has no plans to migrate and when he hears the terrible news of families drowned at sea trying to get to Europe, he gets very upset.

“It makes my heart burst and I don’t think it is worth the risk,” Matin said.

Bilal Ahmad, another Kabul resident, says he plans to leave the country and adds: “There are two reasons people leave Afghanistan: firstly the insecurity and, secondly, unemployment.”

He says if the international community and the Afghan government does not want the youth to leave, “they must bring security and provide jobs for the people.”

He says he has graduated university and is unemployed with no hope of finding a job in Afghanistan.

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