From Bala Murghab to Nowhere

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RAK copy
Connect the dots!

Saeed Amir, Saleh and Saeed Jan walked to Ras al Khaimah from Bala Murghab, on the northern border of Afghanistan. They were caught in the mountains near RAK last spring.

In the Bala Murghab district, home to 133 villages with a population of about 109,381 people, the MRRD report says that war has destroyed basic infrastructure and livestock have perished from disease. After years of war, the men say they were desperate to escape and live peaceful lives. “Between the government and the Taliban, they are always bombing our village.”

Bala Murghab
Bala Murghab (photocredit: Paula Bronstein)

The men travelled across Afghanistan to Spin Boldak, a border town with Pakistan in the south-east of Kandahar province. In Pakistan, they travelled from Chaman to Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province. From Quetta, they travelled south to Pakistan’s Pangjur district and across the border to Iranshahr, a 25-day walk. Once in Iran, they travelled by foot to Bandar Abbas.

“We worked in Bandar Abbas for a month,” said Saeed Amir. “Then we had no work. We thought, where will we go? When we were there, we heard about the UAE. Then we decided to go. We heard the Gulf is a rich place.”

From Bandar Abbas, the men could cross the Strait of Hormuz within hours and enter the UAE by crossing the Hajjar mountains from the Musandam Peninsula in Oman. The trip was not as simple as they expected, however.

“We spent eight days in the mountains,” said Saeed Jan. “We thought it would be three days. We took three fish each, bread, water and the clothes we are wearing now. We wore running shoes and used rope to climb the mountains.”

The lost men hiked at night, continuing when their food and water ran out. On one night, they were caught by torrential rains and forced to take shelter in an old mountain house made of rocks. A few days later, as they finally approached the RAK border and their dream of reaching the UAE, they were caught by the Army.

Ras al Khaimah
Ras al Khaimah


1 comment

  1. About Bala Murghab from a different perspective…

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