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Editorial: Image spoilers

The events which established the reputation of Afghans in Europe and other continents happened within living memory. A small number of Afghan immigrants are stamping image-building efforts of thousands of people. For this tiny group, self-control around women and respect for fellows is a neglected subject. They are not only damaging reputation of the country but also of Islam. People who are helping them had failed to soften hearts of these immigrants who are few in numbers but in the limelight. They assaulted girls and fellow immigrants. On Saturday, RT reported about arrest of an Afghan man, 20 years old, in Austria for intimidating a 13-year-old girl to engage in sexual relations.

Different cases of such nature were reported in March. An Afghan migrant in Greece harassed the wife of a Syrian refugee, setting off a violent clash between Afghan and Syrian refugees at Piraeus Port. Eight people were wounded in the fighting. Likewise, two Afghans in Germany molested teens at a public pool. They were arrested by the police in Norderstedt, Schleswig-Holstein, for attempted rape. The victims aged 14 and 18. They were groped. Earlier, a group of Afghan asylum seekers assaulted three girls at a shopping center in Kiel, the northern German city. The incident of mass assaults of German women took place in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.  Similarly, some Afghan students in India are tarnishing soft image of the country. The story of an Afghan student who stabbed his fellow at Post Graduate Government College in Chandigarh is not too old to recall. In January the Austrian officials said that four underage asylum seekers assaulted three schoolgirls for months.

Public spaces in several European Union member states are becoming increasingly perilous for women. Afghan ambassadors in these countries have utterly failed to placate the situation and restore image of the country. Even there are black sheep in the foreign missions there. The Wolesi Jirga’s Higher Education Commission chief Kamal Nasir Osoli a few days ago told Foreign Minister that an Afghan diplomat in Germany was asking applicants to visit him at late in the evening for official work as at day time he remains busy. According to Osoli the diplomat was molesting people who visit the consulate for official work.

What Osoli has said is making the whole kettle black. These crimes are worthy of severe punishment. They all had arrived at years of discretion and can judge between what is right and what is wrong. The Afghan migrants should be zealous for the country’s honor. They should serve the government and people of the country where they seek asylum. In order to do so, they shall obey laws of the respective countries. The victims are within their rights to demand justice, including punishment of the assaulter and his deportation.

The government must realize where the shoe pinches to rebuild the soft image of Afghans in the world. If such events happen, true Afghans will be unable to repair the tarnished image. First, the government must fire the black sheep in embassies. Second, the foreign ministry shall direct the embassies to educate Afghan immigrants about laws of the respective countries.

The immigrants are unofficial ambassadors of Afghanistan in the countries which created asylums for Afghans—the waifs and strays left to the world’s charity by conflict and other calamities. Therefore, they shall behave like envoys who always paint good picture of the country through words and actions.

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