Bibikhal Uzbek was 105 years old when she made the journey to the Swedish village of Hova in 2015 from her home in Afghanistan's Kunduz through Iran, Turkey and the Balkans. Weeks from her 107th birthday, she has been told she must go back as the Swedish migration agency has turned down her application for asylum. Their decision means deportation for Uzbek, her son and grandchildren who carried her on their backs during parts of the difficult journey.
"I don't understand, why?" said Mohammad Uzbek, Bibikhal Uzbek's grandson. "A hundreds and six years old. She doesn't see, she doesn't speak, she doesn't walk. She's sick," he added. "I don't understand, why? Why turn her down?" The Uzbek family says that Bibikhal, who was born in 1910, suffered a stroke when her application was rejected in June and has not spoken since. There is no way she could survive the return journey back, they say
Sweden's migration agency said in a statement that her age was not the main factor for the rejection. "We can confirm that we have decided on deportation in this case, but the matter has now been appealed in the courts," it said. "We cannot comment more on this particular case, but in general when considering asylum and advanced age, advanced age is not in itself grounds for protection." The agency believes the city of Kunduz is safe enough for the family to return.
Mohammad Uzbek said: "In Afghanistan, there is war, there is death, problems with the Taliban and with ISIL now. I don't understand why they want us to go back. Many people have died this year." The family continues its wait for the result of their appeal, hoping that the last chapter of their grandmother's long life is in Sweden.