Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Migration

This thematic category covers migration flows in and out of, and within Afghanistan, that is: Afghan migration to Europe; the situation for refugees in, and returnees from Pakistan and Iran and; internally displaced persons.

Main informal camp after the storm on 17 July 2018 in Velika Kladusa, a town in northwest Bosnia. Photo: Elizabeth Wait, 2018.

Killing Time in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Afghan migrants try a new route into the EU

Elizabeth Wait

Since January, around 800 Afghans have arrived in the non-EU country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in an attempt to find a new route into the European Union. They are mainly camping out in dilapidated buildings and makeshift structures in the towns of Bihać and Velika Kladuša, both near to the north-western border with EU member […]

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Aşkale Removal Centre in Erzurum. Photo: Author, 2018

Mass Deportations of Afghans from Turkey: Thousands of migrants sent back in a deportation drive

Amy Pitonak

In a recent television appearance, the Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, said that 15,000 Afghans have been sent back home from Turkey. While it is likely that this number has been exaggerated, there is no doubt that in April and May of 2018, thousands of Afghan migrants were sent back on charter flights from Turkey […]

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A group of Afghan refugees protesting in the yard of the Balikpapan Immigration Detention Centre in Indonesia. Credit: Ehsanullah Sahil

Pressure to return? Afghan refugees protest at Indonesian detention centre

Amy Pitonak

Afghan refugees in an Indonesian detention centre have been protesting for over two months. As is the case for most Afghan refugees in the country, they must live in centres scattered across the 16,000 or so islands, although they have been granted refugee status by UNHCR. AAN guest author Amy Pitonak (*) spoke to Afghan […]

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One of the refugee families who returned from Pakistan to Afghanistan in 2017. Last year, some 57,000 people returned. This year, a far bigger, forced exodus is feared. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2017, Nangrahar.

Still Caught in Regional Tensions? The uncertain destiny of Afghan refugees in Pakistan

Jelena Bjelica Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

As this dispatch was finalised, the Pakistan government had not made any last-minute extension to the ‘Proof of Registration’ identity cards for Afghan refugees residing in the country. Those cards were due to run out on 31 January 2018. Without an extension, a huge number of people could be forced to go back to Afghanistan […]

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Pressure and Peril: Afghan refugees and Europe in 2017

Thomas Ruttig

The number of Afghan refugees arriving on Europe’s shores this year was significantly lower than in 2015 and 2016, but the arrivals have not stopped. In 2017, there were still a few thousand Afghans making the hazardous trip across the Mediterranean to the continent, and tens of thousands more continued to be on the move inside […]

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Kuja Meri? Joel van Houdt’s street photo exhibition on Afghan migration

Jelena Bjelica

Joel van Houdt, an independent Dutch photojournalist, who lived in Afghanistan for several years, has recently returned to Kabul to exhibit his photography on Afghan migration. The exhibition, entitled “Kuja meri? – Where are you going?”, comprises a series of about 50 photos that focus entirely on Afghanistan’s refugees and is displayed on the outer […]

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A still image from video posted online by the Organisation for the Protection of Bulgarian Citizens (OPBC), which shows three Afghan migrants captured by the group near the Bulgarian-Turkish border. Photo: Open source.

Far Beneath the European Average: The treatment of Afghan migrants in Bulgaria

Jelena Bjelica

Many Afghan migrants have been opting to travel through Bulgaria, a country bordering Turkey, on their journey to western and northern Europe. This route, while safer than a sea crossing, comes with its own terrifying experiences, as first-hand testimonies of migrants collected by different human rights organisations have shown. In Bulgaria, Afghan migrants are not […]

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Afghan Asylum Seekers in Italy: A place of temporary respite

Fabrizio Foschini Jelena Bjelica

The number of Afghan asylum seekers in Italy has been steadily rising over the last decade. Numbers grew particularly rapidly between 2013 and 2015 and only in recent months have they slowed down. Throughout the last ten years, not only has Italy become a fixture in the mental map of Afghan migrants, but it has […]

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Afghan minors teaching Italian kids to fly kites, Trieste 2016 - photo by Fabrizio Foschini

Afghan Child Migrants: Italy, the preferred country of transit?

Fabrizio Foschini Jelena Bjelica

Over 100,000 unaccompanied Afghan minors, almost all of them male and generally between 14 and 17 years of age, applied for asylum in Europe between 2008 and 2016, making Afghanistan the single largest country of origin for this group of refugees. While Germany and Sweden received by far the highest number of applications, Italy became […]

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The outer walls of the barracks in Belgrade were covered in colourful graffiti, giving the place a surreal feel. The squat, which is now being demolished, housed around a thousand migrants – mainly Afghans and Pakistanis, all men. Belgrade, April 2017. Photo: Martine van Bijlert

The Aftermath of an Exodus: Afghans stuck in Serbia still trying to ‘hit the game’

Martine van Bijlert Jelena Bjelica

For more than six months, the dilapidated barracks behind Belgrade’s main bus station housed over a thousand men and boys – most of them Afghans. Conditions, despite better weather and increased assistance, remained dire and the migrants continued to live under the looming threat of eviction. In May 2017, the authorities finally moved in, vacated […]

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The Aftermath of an Exodus: The Balkans’ old smuggling routes and Europe’s closed borders

Martine van Bijlert Jelena Bjelica

With some borders shared with EU countries that are trying to keep migrants and asylum seekers out, Serbia finds itself increasingly home to people who want to travel onwards but are unable to do so. An estimated eight to ten thousand migrants – most of them Afghans – who intended to travel on to Western […]

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Anti-migration graffiti on the wall of the Ministry of Telecommunication in Kabul, Afghanistan. The caption on the left reads: "There is no rest in flight.” The caption on the right reads: "The real face of a smuggler” – whatever picture had been stencilled on the wall below looks to have been scrubbed out. (Photo: Fazal Muzhary, AAN 2017)

Voluntary and Forced Returns to Afghanistan in 2016/17: Trends, statistics and experiences

Thomas Ruttig Jelena Bjelica

While hundreds of thousands of Afghans sought protection in Europe throughout 2015/16, an increasing number have been returning to Afghanistan, both voluntarily and involuntarily. The number of voluntary returnees from Europe picked up significantly throughout 2016, with additional returns in the first four months of 2017, reaching a total figure of over 8,000. By contrast, […]

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