Photo: Taliban Foreign Ministry

Remains of 18 refugees discovered in abandoned truck near Sofia returned to Kabul

The bodies of 18 refugees from Afghanistan who were found dead in an abandoned truck near Sofia, Bulgaria, in February, have been repatriated to Kabul and handed over to their families.

The delay in the Bulgarian court’s decision and the burdensome banking restrictions that prevented the Taliban from paying the companies responsible for transporting the bodies contributed to the prolonged timeline, a group’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

The 18 refugees, including a child, were found dead in the truck on February 17. They had suffocated due to lack of oxygen.

The Bulgarian Health Minister, Asen Medzhidiev, said at the time that the refugees had “suffered from lack of oxygen, their clothes are wet, and they are freezing, and obviously haven’t eaten for days.”

Bulgaria is situated on a route used by migrants from the Middle East and Afghanistan to enter the European Union. Most do not stay in the country but look to move on to richer countries in Western Europe.