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For Batoor, like many Afghans, association with coalition forces made him a Taliban target and escape his only option. For the first time he has captured unique and terrifying images of his desperate journey.
The tiny boat heaves up and down on the rough seas. The water-speckled camera watches people crying, shrieking for help and praying.”I thought I was documenting my death,” Batoor tells us. “It was like a scene from doomsday.” It was a journey that went horribly wrong, forcing the asylum seekers to swim for their lives. When asked why he was so desperate to leave his country to run this gauntlet he explains, “because my life was under threat in Afghanistan”. He had a good job working for the US embassy and loves his country. But when he was let go by the embassy he became a target for the Taliban, with no protection from those who he had worked for. Samir, a translator for the UK and Danish forces, had exactly the same experience. As he points out, if the troops pull out there will be many many more like him and Batoor. “Loads of people will try to run away, because the Taliban are threatening and killing those people who help the government and help the coalition forces.” Now Batoor and other Afghans are stuck in limbo in Indonesia, their options are limited and the prospect of getting on another boat is traumatic.”I’m thinking there are not many choices for us”, says a shell-shocked Batoor.