Author: Photographer Kiana Hayeri, with text by Mujib Mashal
Affiliation: The New York Times Magazine
Organization/Publisher: The New York Times Magazine
Date/Place: April 22, 2020/USA
Type of Literature: Magazine Article Photo Essay
Word Count: 3,300
Keywords: COVID-19, Immigration, Iran, Herat, Afghanistan.
This photo essay follows thousands of Afghan immigrants and provides narrative as they return back to their home in Iran due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic. The author highlights the tragedy of illegal migration through smuggling channels, which once these migrants went through to secure a better life, but now everything has reversed for them. The discriminatory treatment of these immigrants in Iran, and the rumors of killing COVID-19 suspected Afghan immigrants by the Iranian authorities had rushed them to return home, but the treatment at home is also tragic. With the poor health system, Afghanistan is on the brink of another disaster with estimates of around 16 million infected and 110,000 deaths. Despite the ongoing daily conflicts, life was going on, but the epidemic has stopped everything. The possibility of a fragile peace deal between the Taliban and the government has worsened with more than 500 Taliban attacks occurring over two weeks in late March and early April. Adding to that, the presidential election dispute between Ghani and Abdullah and their failure for a coalition government has cost the country a $1 billion aid cut by the USA. The current situation in the medical test centers is horrifying. There is a vast spread of misinformation among the public and the corruption level in the government is at its peak.
By: Abdullah Jurat, CIGA Research Associate