In Doha, a four-star transit camp for Afghan exiles

In Qatar, the Park View Villas, a newly built subdivision on the outskirts of Doha, was due to open its doors during the 2022 World Cup. But the entry of the Taliban into Kabul in mid-August accelerated its commissioning. Instead of being shown by football supporters or FIFA employees at the opening of the World Cup in November next year, the place was inaugurated at the end of August by Afghan refugees. .

The residence is one of the sites requisitioned in the emirate to accommodate people who fled Kabul and its new Islamist masters, in the planes of Qatar Airways, the only airline to fly to Afghanistan. Thousands of evacuees have passed there in recent weeks, and nearly 400 people now live there awaiting a visa that will allow them to resettle in a third country, the United States, Germany or elsewhere. .

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This four-star transit camp is made up of around a hundred units with a standardized design, linked by tree-lined paths, bordering handball and basketball courts. Enriched for the occasion with an outdoor concert and theater stage, it has the false air of a holiday village. The stay is fully funded by the Doha authorities, from breakfast to baby diapers, including psychotherapy sessions and drawing lessons.

Fear of an uncertain future

This is the good humanitarian action of the emirate. Qatar plays, as usual, the role of the charitable intermediary, while ensuring that its guests do not take root at home. Of the 60,000 Afghans who have passed through its territory since August 15, a very small handful have obtained the right of residence there.

The inhabitants of the Park View Villas, members for the most part of the Afghan liberal elite, artists, sportsmen or executives of the ex-government, form a colony of melancholy exiles. All are divided between the relief of having escaped the rule of the Taliban, the pain of being uprooted and the fear of a still uncertain future.

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“Half of my body is here in Qatar and the other half is in Afghanistan”, laments Khatera, a 29-year-old former finance ministry employee, her hair covered in an elegant turquoise shawl. In the living room of the sand-colored maisonette that this young bride occupies, the lampshades are still covered with their plastic wrapping. A large plasma screen, a sofa, chairs, a coffee table and another for dinner complete this basic, impersonal but functional summer rental furniture.

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