When Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021, critics were quick to blame the recent U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. The U.S., its many European partners and the broader international community had, it was said, turned their backs on Afghans.
But through long experience helping migrants, many of them Afghan, survive along the brutal “Balkan Route,” K2.0’s Regional Editor Nidžara Ahmetašević, knew that the world had turned its back on Afghans a long time ago. If the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan represented the international community’s shameful betrayal of the Afghan people, it was only the most recent example of a longer track record of iniquity.
This insight transformed into the K2.0 Perspectives article “The world turned its back on Afghans a long time ago,” published August 17, 2021. In it, Ahmetašević recounts the story of Idris, a young Afghan man who suffered grievous injuries in a car bombing in Kabul and who spent years making his way through the Middle East and the Balkans on foot to seek asylum and medical treatment in Germany.
Ahmetašević argues in her searing essay that forcing young Idris to walk across the deserts of Iran, to be imprisoned in a camp in Greece, to sleep under bridges in Sarajevo and to face club-swinging Croatian police, all because he wants access to basic medical care and a chance at a good life, surely this too represents a betrayal of human rights and “European values.” Surely this too is evidence that the world had long ago turned its back on the plight of Afghans.
We at K2.0 are exceptionally proud to announce that this article has been recognized at the highest level, having been shortlisted for the European Press Prize in the Public Discourse category.
Started in 2012, the European Press Prize is one of the most prestigious journalism prizes in Europe. Every year hundreds of submissions come from as many as 47 countries across the continent. Along with the Public Discourse category, awards are given for Distinguished Reporting, Innovation and Investigative Reporting.
On the Prize’s website, they state that the Public Discourse Award celebrates “work that transcends dates and regions” and that can “instigate public debate and discourse and has value for all people reading it.” This is the type of work K2.0 is always endeavoring to make. The winners of each award category will be announced later this year, but regardless of the final outcome, we’re happy that Ahmetašević’s particularly outstanding example of our work can now gain a wider readership.
Feature image: K2.0.