Afghan refugees

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Afghan refugees are citizens of Afghanistan who left their country as a result of major wars. Ever since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, neighboring Pakistan and Iran began providing shelter to Afghan refugees. When the Soviet war ended in 1989, these refugees started to return to their homeland. In April 1992, a major civil war began after the mujahideen took over control of Kabul and the other major cities. Afghans again fled to neighboring countries.

A total of 6 million Afghan refugees were housed in Pakistan and Iran, making Afghanistan the largest refugee-producing country in the world, a title it has held for 32 years.[1] Afghans are currently the second largest refugee group after Syrian refugees.[2] The majority of Afghan refugees (c. 95%) are located in Iran and Pakistan.[1] Some countries that were part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) took in small number of Afghans that worked with their respective forces.[3] Ethnic minorities, like Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, often fled to India.[4]

Returning to Afghanistan since 2002[edit]

Afghan citizens returning from Pakistan in 2004

After the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001, over 5 million Afghans have been repatriated through the UNHCR from Pakistan and Iran to Afghanistan.[5][6][7][8] On December 16, 2014, there was a terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar by the Pakistani Taliban group Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP),[9] the leaders of which Pakistan claim to be based on the Afghan side of the border.[10][11] The attack killed at least 145 people, most of them Pakistani school children.[12] Following the attack, there have been reports of Afghan refugees in Pakistan encountering serious harassment and often being told to return to Afghanistan.[13][14]

Hundreds of thousands of Afghans began returning to Afghanistan in recent years.[15][2] According to the United Nations, by the end of 2016 about 600,000 documented and undocumented Afghans were repatriated from Pakistan.[16] The remaining registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan numbers around 1.3 million.[17] In the same year, UNHCR reported that 951,142 Afghans were living in Iran.[18] Most of these were born and raised in Pakistan and Iran in the last three and a half decades but are still considered citizens of Afghanistan.[15][19][20][5][6]

Statistics[edit]

As shown in the table below, the refugees fled Afghanistan in four main waves:[21][22]

Country/Region Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-89) Civil War (1992–96) Taliban Rule (1996–2001) War in Afghanistan (2001–present) - Present
Pakistan Pakistan 3,100,000 [23] 1,300,000 - 2,500,000 [21][22][A 1]
Iran Iran 3,100,000 [23] 951,142 - 2,400,000 [18][24][25][26]
United Arab Emirates UAE 300,000 [27] [A 2]
Germany Germany 126,334 [28] [A 3]
United Kingdom United Kingdom 56,000 [29] [A 4]
Netherlands the Netherlands 44,000 [30]
Austria Austria 20,349 [31]
Denmark Denmark 15,854 [32] [A 5]
India India 18,000 [33] [A 6]
Sweden Sweden 6,904 [34] [A 7]
Tajikistan Tajikistan 1161 [35] 15,336 [35] 3,427 [35] [A 8]
Qatar Qatar 3,500 [36]
Syria Syria 1,750 [37] [A 9]
Turkey Turkey 4,150 [38] [A 10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2013
  2. ^ 2012
  3. ^ 2009 Census
  4. ^ 2009
  5. ^ 2006 census
  6. ^ 2011 news report
  7. ^ 2007
  8. ^ 2003 news report
  9. ^ 2013 UNHCR report
  10. ^ 2005 UNHCR report
  1. ^ a b BBC News 2013
  2. ^ a b "Return of Afghan Refugees to Afghanistan Surges as Country Copes to Rebuild". www.imf.org. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  3. ^ Stainburn 2013
  4. ^ Bose 2006
  5. ^ a b Why are Afghan refugees leaving Iran? (al-Jazeera May 17, 2016).
  6. ^ a b "Iran: Afghan Refugees and Migrants Face Abuse". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ Voluntary Repatriation Update (UNHCR Nov. 2016)
  8. ^ UNHCR in Pakistan: An enduring partnership
  9. ^ CNN, By Sophia Saifi and Greg Botelho. "Taliban school attack: 145 killed in Pakistan siege - CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  10. ^ Masood, Salman (2015-02-12). "In a Shift, Pakistan Pats Afghanistan on the Back". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  11. ^ (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "Pakistan blames Afghanistan for the attack on Peshawar air force base | News | DW.COM | 18.09.2015". DW.COM. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  12. ^ CNN, By Sophia Saifi and Greg Botelho. "Taliban school attack: 145 killed in Pakistan siege - CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  13. ^ "Pakistan: Stop Forced Returns of Afghans". Human Rights Watch. February 21, 2015. 
  14. ^ Joseph Goldstein (February 23, 2015). "Refugees Are Pushed to Exits in Pakistan". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2015. they all say they have been beaten and slapped and told nobody in Pakistan wants them anymore 
  15. ^ a b Facing problems in Pakistan, Afghans return home in droves (PBS NewsHour March 10, 2017)
  16. ^ Green, Matthew (2016-10-04). "Afghan exodus from Pakistan could be 'catastrophic' without urgent aid". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  17. ^ UNHCR welcomes new government policy for Afghans in Pakistan (UNHCR Feb. 7, 2017)
  18. ^ a b Iran Factsheet (UNHCR Feb. 2016)
  19. ^ Sohail Khattak, ed. (August 15, 2011). "Independence Day: We are Pakistanis now, say Afghans". The Express Tribune. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  20. ^ "PAKISTAN: Tolerance wanes as perceptions of Afghan refugees change". Irin. February 27, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Nordland 2013
  22. ^ a b United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 2013
  23. ^ a b United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 1999
  24. ^ Demographics of Iran
  25. ^ UNHC Iran 2015 figures
  26. ^ "Afghan refugees in Iran". Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  27. ^ Shahbandari 2012
  28. ^ Haug & Müssig 2009, p. 76 chart 5
  29. ^ Jones 2010, p. 2
  30. ^ [1]
  31. ^ [2]
  32. ^ Denmark Bureau of Statistics 2014
  33. ^ Associated Press 2013
  34. ^ Government of Afghanistan 2007
  35. ^ a b c Erlich 2006
  36. ^ bq magazine - Qatar´s population by nationality
  37. ^ UNHCR - Syrian Arab Republic
  38. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 2005, p. 393