Hamoon took the long road. After paying $8,000 to a people smuggler, he went to Pakistan, where he was taken through Iran to Turkey, then across to Greece. From there he could travel more freely, since he was now in the European Union. One smuggler would hand him off to another at the border, as he made his way by truck, train, bus and motorcycle through Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Denmark, finally reaching his goal, Sweden, after several months.

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Thousands of Afghans who have sought refuge in Iran are being sent to Syria to fight for the regime of Bashar al Assad. Human Rights Watch reports that the Iranian government often offers cash incentives and a promise of asylum to those who will take up arms in the long and brutal war.

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Ahmad was a student in the philosophy department of Kabul University. He was living with his family in Kabul, but, as his mother tells it, he always wanted to leave. He thought he could make a better life outside the country.

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