Afghanistan February 2001 Seven months before 9/11 Afghanistan stood isolated and in ruins after 22 years of war and the worst drought in memory. By 2001 700,000 Afghans streamed toward the borders. Many had watched their crops and animals die. Many were caught in the middle of the long-standing civil war. At that time, Afghanistan was just a dot on the map to most Americans. No one seemed to care.
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Despite Pakistan's attmepts to keep them out, Afghan refugees arrive daily at the Jalozoi camp, a home for people with no place else to go.
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“That’s all their life is. The search for food.” The children become the unwitting victims in this.
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At Jalozai refugee camp, just over the border in Pakistan, grimy plastic sheets and rancid-smelling cloth are their only shelter.
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Refugees carry 110-pound sacks of wheat from the distribution center to their tents, a monthly allotment from the World Food Program, which is hindered by the absence of donors.
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Pakistani guards at Jalozai hold back refugees who are trying to push their way into a compound holding bags of donated flour. The Afghans in the camp have little access to food.
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The refugees look in every direction and see nothing but wind, sand and mountains in the distance.
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"He holds out his hands. They are encased in thick dirt. He points to his wife, who looks back at him with a frightened expression. He points to his sons, one 8, the other 6. "I want to leave this place," he says."
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" Just as one man, on one day, is trying to find his way out of Afghanistan, so are a vast number of other people on similar journeys, all over the world motivated by fear of war, hunger's ache, the need for a little money, the desire for a lot."
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"They had left their homes to journey to Iran or, anywhere, in search for work. Inside the truck one of them clutched a beautiful handkerchief his wife had made for him. She had woven into it a love letter."
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"They see a wide-open road leading to food, to water, to money, to work, to whatever. Afghan farmers left their land after losing their crops and livestock to the drought and headed toward every border."