Hamidullah takes a moment to consider his surroundings after asking a young man to fetch him some drinking water.
“Oh, what clean water we had in Kunduz,” the 35-year-old said of his hometown, which lies near the Tajik border. “What clean air.”
“Here, everything is so polluted. We are surrounded by rubbish,” he said. “Look at how we’re living.”
The “here” Hamidullah refers to is one of the newer camps created by the country’s internally displaced people, most of whom have fled other provinces due to fighting and instability.
On the outskirts of this city of roughly 3.7 million people are several such camps – mud huts and tattered tents held together by ropes and plastic bags, connected by narrow pathways with gutters running through them. There are 50 or so camps for the internally displaced near Kabul, varying in size from just a handful of families to several hundred.
If people could afford to pay human smugglers the $3,000 it takes to make it to Greece – with possibly more than one attempt required – the numbers of Afghans leaving for Europe would be exponentially higher. According to the International Organization for Migration, some 200,000 Afghans applied for refugee status in European countries last year.
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