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   Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

Life in Limbo

Athens: Masoud Qahar worked for both NATO and the United Nations as special ops intelligence for years, helping western powers locate the Taliban in his home country of Afghanistan. In 2012, Taliban fighters attacked his home in Kabul, killing his 26-year-old sister in front of his mother, and severely injuring both his father and brother. The message was loud and clear: stop working for western powers or face the consequences. His belief in freedom did not waver, and he never succumbed to the pressure of the Taliban. He continued to work for the west for two more years before increasing threats from the Taliban forced him to flee his country in 2015.

For months, he made the perilous journey, oftentimes on foot, through the harsh winters in the Afghan and Iranian mountains, through to the Turkish border. After many months and thousands of Euros paid to smugglers, he wound up in Greece. The once affluent special ops NATO personnel now lives in a small container, with several other people, in Athens' Eleonas refugee camp. Despite his lauded service to the west, he has been denied asylum on several occasions - from Greece and other NATO members - but refuses to give up hope.