The Scariest Little Corner of the World

A look at the city of Zaranj, near the Iran-Afghanistan border, where Afghan migrant workers are smuggled into and deported from Iran:

“A few years ago, Iran designated the province that borders Nimruz a ‘no go’ area for foreign residents and shortly thereafter began erecting a 15-foot-high concrete wall that now runs more than half the length of its 147-mile border with Nimruz. The Iranian border police — manning guard towers, each within sight of the next — were also said to have changed. There came increasing reports of Afghans being shot and killed by the same authorities who once benignly waved them through. While most of these stories are unverified, they nevertheless reinforced a growing sense that the old road to a new life was now closed. Today migrants who come to Nimruz must travel another 10 hours south into Pakistan, then cross from there into Iran. The journey consists of three legs. Afghan-Baluchi smugglers take you part of the way; Pakistani-Baluchi smugglers take you a littler farther; Iranian-Baluchi smugglers finish the job. For the first stretch — a narrow dirt road through uninhabitable, lunar flatland — roughly 300 drivers share a rotating schedule, each working one day a month. These were the men preparing to depart from Ganj, bristling at my questions about the bomb.”

Published: Oct 18, 2012
Length: 33 minutes (8,366 words)
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