Held in bonded labor, Afghan returnee children make bricks for a living

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LONDON, Nov 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Samina, an eight-year-old Afghan girl, hasn't been to school since she was forced to return home with her family from Pakistan.

She spends each day at a dusty, dirty brick kiln near the eastern city of Jalalabad, making bricks with her father to help repay the money the family borrowed to pay the truck driver who brought them across the border.

"I am eight years old. I make bricks with my father and younger brothers," said Samina, when handed the phone by her father.

"We sleep here in this brick factory site at night and we work here during the day."

See the children being forced into labor at brick factories:

14 PHOTOS
Afghan children forced to work at brick factories
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Afghan children forced to work at brick factories
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children pose as they work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KABUL, Sept. 26, 2016 -- An Afghan child shows her dirty hands at a brick factory in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Sept. 26, 2016. Some 1.3 million school-aged Afghan children are deprived from education while thousands of children have been forced to resort to child labor as a result of conflicts and poverty, according to officials. (Xinhua/Rahmat Alizadah via Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children pose as they work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 0: Afghan children work hard at a local brick factory to contribute to the family income Kabul, Afghanistan on October 8 June, in Afghanistan children from the age of 7 often work to help support their families by working at local factories, herding animals in rural areas and by collecting paper and firewood, shining shoes, begging, or collecting scrap metal among street debris in the cities. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Samina's is one of thousands of Afghan families streaming back to their home country at unprecedented rates.

The flow of returnees from neighboring Iran and Pakistan this year, estimated by the U.N. to number more than half a million, is straining the capacity of the government and aid agencies to provide help as winter approaches.

Even as violence uproots more Afghans around the country, the returnees keep coming, many of them citing harassment by Pakistani authorities as relations between the two countries have deteriorated.

"The police hounded us in Pakistan, making life almost impossible. They would arrest Afghans on the streets or on work sites," Samina's father, Lalzaman, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Lalzaman, his wife and five children are living at the brick factory in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.

An undocumented refugee, Lalzaman spent 25 years in Pakistan after fleeing violence in his home country. He was working at a factory there and was happy with life, until the harassment of Pakistani police forced him to return home, he said.

"Our house here was destroyed in the years of war," said Lalzaman, 50. "There is nothing left in our village to go back to."

Aid officials in Pakistan encouraged Lalzaman to return to Afghanistan, saying he would receive an "incentive package" including cash, kitchen utensils and food.

But so far he says he has received nothing. He and his family are working as bonded laborers to pay back the 28,000 Pakistani rupees ($270) the brick factory paid the truck driver.

Related: Afghan cement factory aiming to reopen after Taliban closure:

27 PHOTOS
Taliban-closed cement factory in Afghanistan aims to relaunch
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Taliban-closed cement factory in Afghanistan aims to relaunch
The Jabal Saraj cement factory is seen in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Fazil Haq, 50, an employee at the Jabal Saraj cement factory, poses for a photograph in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A man works at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A cook (C) prepares lunch to be distributed to workers at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A worker holds a cement sample in a laboratory at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A man works in a laboratory at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A worker takes a break at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Khuda Daad, head of the laboratory of the Jabal Saraj cement factory, poses for a photograph at his lab in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A worker looks at an oven through a small hole at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Workers wait for lunch at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A worker shovels coal at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A worker poses for a photograph at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Workers break rocks at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A worker at the Jabal Saraj cement factory poses for a photograph in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Workers sign attendance sheets as they arrive for work at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Mohammad Hakim Mohammadi, the general director of the Jabal Saraj cement factory, poses for a photograph in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Dadullah, an employee at the Jabal Saraj cement factory, works at a plant in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Men work at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Abdul Salaam, an electrician at the Jabal Saraj cement factory, poses for a photograph in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Sacks of cement lay at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Dadullah, a worker at the Jabal Saraj cement factory, poses for a photograph in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Workers operate heavy machinery at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Workers sign attendance sheets as they arrive for work at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Dadullah, an employee at the Jabal Saraj cement factory, works at a plant in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Abdul Salaam, an electrician at the Jabal Saraj cement factory, poses for a photograph in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Men work at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. In an area desperately short of industry and jobs, local workers hope that the relaunch of the plant in Jabal Saraj, built by Czech engineers in 1957 and closed down by the Taliban in 1995, can show that Afghanistan's shattered industry can climb back to its feet after decades of war and destruction. But the outdated state-owned plant some 75 kilometres outside Kabul also shows how far it has to go before that promise can be achieved and there are serious questions over whether it has a viable future unless a new, modern facility is built to replace it. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood SEARCH "AFGHANISTAN CEMENT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
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'NO ONE GAVE US A PENNY'

"When we were in Pakistan, we were told that the (aid) money will be given to us in Torkham border crossing," he said.

"When at Torkham, they said the money would be given once we were across the border. And when we got to the Afghan side, we were told that the money would be given to us once we reach Jalalabad. But no one gave us a penny."

Ghulam Haidar Faqirzai, head of Nangarhar provincial department of refugees and repatriations, said returnee families would receive an allowance of 3,350 afghanis ($50) per person.

"The undocumented returnees who arrived in the past did not receive any help, because (my office) only just received 100 million afghanis ($1.5 million) from the ministry of refugees and repatriations in Kabul yesterday," Faqirzai told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone on Tuesday.

Because his family was not registered, they didn't qualify for cash or other aid from U.N. agencies, Lalzaman said.

He accepted an offer from Akbar Khan, the secretary of a brick making firm, to pay his travel debts in return for labor.

"These poor families had nothing. If we didn't provide them with money to pay for truck rent, they would have to sell their clothes to pay for it, and even then they couldn't afford it," Khan told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone. He denied he was exploiting the young workers.

"They are happy here, because they have a roof over their heads, a job that keeps them busy and pays well," Khan said.

Lalzaman's family, like 20 others living at the factory, work from dawn till dusk for a wage of 650 Pakistani rupees ($6). So far they have not repaid any of the debt.

"My eldest daughter (Samina) is a great help. She does everything from bringing water, to filling the mold and making the brick. The other children also assist us," Lalzaman said.

Child labor is forbidden under Afghan law and under international treaties signed by Kabul. But Human Rights Watch estimates that at least a quarter of Afghan children between the ages of 5 and 14 work for a living or to help their families.

They weave carpets at home, work in brick kilns as bonded labor, as tinsmiths and welders, in mines and in agriculture.

"I would love to go to school and play with other girls," said Samina. "But if I go to school who is going to work with my father?"

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