Many Afghan migrants who returned home after the Taliban regime was toppled in 2001, are returning back to foreign shores due to lack of work opportunities in Afghanistan
According to government statistics, in the last 12 years, about 5.7 million Afghans who had migrated to other countries during Taliban regime have returned home. However, almost 6 million continue to live abroad, in 73 countries across the world.
The return of Afghans started soon after the Taliban regime was toppled in 2001, says Islamuddin Jurat, Spokesman for Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation. The process was swift in the initial years but slowed down after 2007, and some of them even left back,” he says.
“Between 2002 and 2007, the Afghan refugees based in Iran and Pakistan started coming back, but after the initial burst, the process turned sluggish. Even some of the families who had returned felt compelled to go back, primarily due to lack of work opportunities here,” says Mr. Jurat.
Pointing to the staggering number of Afghan refugees across the world, Mr. Jurat said, 1 out of 25 refugees across the world happens to be an Afghan and 25 out of 100 have returned to the country.
About 40 percent of refugees have returned to their traditional bastions while 60 percent are putting up in cities as displaced families
Most of the people who returned back after living as migrants in foreign countries for years live as displaced families in cities, he says.
“About 40 percent of refugees have returned to their traditional bastions while 60 percent are putting up in cities as displaced families, mostly in Kabul, Helmand, Nangarhar, Balkh, Herat, Kandahar and Kunduz province,” notes Mr. Jurat.
As per a recent survey by the United Nations, one out of four international migrants is an Afghan. Iran and Pakistan are home to majority of Afghan migrants.
According to the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, 1.7 million Afghan refugees live in Pakistan and less than one million registered refugees live in Iran, besides a million other who live there illegally.
The International Labor Organization (ILO), in a recent report presented grim details about the condition of Afghan migrants and displaced families.
The ILO report says a large number of displaced people work under difficult circumstances. Seven percent of them are totally unemployed. The survey was conducted in 22 areas of the country with sizeable population of migrants with cooperation from the Afghan government and International Organization for Migration (IOM).
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