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Ex-Afghan soldiers stuck in deadly ‘red zone’ at Polish border after 2,500-mile journey – World News

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Refugees stuck in the border area between Poland and Belarus are struggling to survive. Deaths have been reported in the “red zone” due to poor access to food and water

Afghan refugees are stuck in a deadly no man's land
Afghan refugees are stuck in a deadly no man’s land

Afghan refugees are stuck in a deadly no man’s land between the Belarus-Poland border with little or no aid or supplies after fleeing the Taliban.

The area is known as the “red zone,” a desolate, unforgiving strip of land on the border between the two countries where access to food and water is virtually non-existent and aid workers are usually denied access.

Fences and roads on the Polish side were reinforced from December by at least 140 British Royal Engineers, who were not combat troops but “guys with diggers”.

At least 19 people are said to have died in the red zone, while human rights group Human Rights Watch reported cases of rape, extortion, severe beatings and lifeless bodies.







British and Polish troops on the border
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Picture:

gov.uk)

The Mirror spoke to a group of former Afghan National Army soldiers who worked closely with NATO forces and US troops and are stuck in the red zone.

They claimed they were pushed back by Polish border guards, beaten by those on the Belarusian side, and had their money and phones stolen after arriving from a grueling journey through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus.

Returning home is not an option as a ruling Taliban force would likely kill them for their work. One even explained how he was forced to flee his own home through the roof.

He said: “The Taliban came behind our house and I fled from the roof of the house. I have been warned and threatened. My father was arrested two or three times. [They] attacked our house [and] We fled Afghanistan.”







The border is strict and unforgiving, but returning home could mean death for fleeing Afghans
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Picture:

AFP via Getty Images)

At the time of writing, the men, who include a former prosecutor, were hoping to cross the border legally with the help of aid workers, charities, journalists and officials, but were apparently arrested again by Belarusian border guards.

The goal for refugees in the red zone is to enter Poland, but it’s a country that doesn’t want them.

Happy to take in Ukrainian refugees fleeing Vladimir Putin’s bombs, Polish guards remain hostile to Afghans attempting to cross this border. Other reports also report cases where children have been separated from their mothers.

Desperate refugees try to cross, resorting to holes in the fences. A network of underground volunteers tries to help them cross, but they face sedition charges, which carry a sentence of several years.

One such volunteer, who remains under threat from those charges, told Der Spiegel: “When it comes to injuries, we usually deal with cases of beating [and] rape. There are pregnant women, sick children [or] broken limbs or sprains sustained while fleeing border guards.

“We are activists, volunteers. It is more difficult to bring humanitarian aid, we are harassed, intimidated with fines and other responses from the authorities.”

According to the volunteers, there is a big difference between accepting Afghan and Ukrainian refugees.







Boundary posts at the closed Polish-Belarusian border crossing in Kuznica
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Picture:

AFP via Getty Images)

The volunteer added: “When a volunteer brings help in Ukraine, he is a hero. [When I enter the forest] I am… a man of a lesser kind, of a worse god.”

“This is a lawless zone, they do what they want.”

Belarus, led by Vladimir Putin’s puppet Aleksandr Lukashenko, is accused of deliberately trying to create a hostile environment for refugees and sending them west to destabilize Europe. In response, the Poles built fences and sentries across the border.

Royal engineers were present at the border and helped provide “non-combat support”. According to Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace, the goal was “to support Polish efforts to protect their border and to share important technical know-how”.

He said in December: “Our commitment to European security is unwavering and we will always offer support to our allies.”

The Ministry of Defense said it was unable to go into operational details for security reasons, but said “British staff have now ceased this task” and they “were mainly assisting in strengthening the roads as opposed to repairing the fences”.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/ex-afghan-soldiers-stuck-polish-27200075 Ex-Afghan soldiers stuck in deadly 'red zone' at Polish border after 2,500-mile journey - World News

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