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.

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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Daily wage labourers chatting with each other while waiting for jobs. As the number of returnees from Pakistan has increased, the chances of getting work has gone down. Some labourers told AAN that they had been waiting for weeks to get a single day’s work.

Resettling Nearly Half a Million Afghans in Nangrahar: The consequences of the mass return of refugees

Fazl Rahman Muzhary

Most of the 600,000 Afghans who returned from Pakistan last year chose to settle in the eastern border province of Nangrahar. This has put considerable strain on both health and education services. There has also been a boom in property prices, which has exacerbated land grabbing, already a major source of conflict in the province. […]

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Demonstration in Berlin against deportation of Afghan asylum seekers on February 11, 2017 Photo: Hadi Ahmady. (Newsgroup Afghanistan)

Afghan Exodus: Afghan asylum seekers in Europe (3) – case study Germany

Thomas Ruttig

Germany led in Europe in almost all categories of incoming refugees and asylum applications in 2015 and 2016, both in absolute and relative figures. Roughly six out of ten migrants who came to Europe ended up in Germany. Afghans were strongly represented in all those categories. This prompted the German government to change its 2015 […]

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Afghan Exodus: Afghan asylum seekers in Europe (2) – the north-south divide

Thomas Ruttig

The situation and number of Afghan migrants in Europe differed from country to country in 2016. The division lay, roughly, along the Alps. To the south, the number of incoming migrants, though still high, dropped but requests for asylum continued to rise in some countries. Living conditions, meanwhile, deteriorated sharply. To the north, much fewer […]

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Locked out from the EU – Afghan and Pakistanis migrants (with a few Bangladeshis and a Nigerian) standing in line for supplies in a Belgrade, Serbia squat. Photo: Martine van Bijlert (Nov 2016).

Afghan Exodus: Afghan asylum seekers in Europe (1) – the changing situation

Thomas Ruttig

In 2016, Afghans remained the second-largest group both of migrants seeking protection in Europe and of those formally applying for asylum. Meanwhile, numbers of arrivals – both in general and in terms of Afghans – have dropped significantly, compared with the peak in late 2015, as European countries have since made getting, staying and integrating […]

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Over Half a Million Afghans Flee Conflict in 2016: A look at the IDP statistics

Jelena Bjelica

In 2016, more than half a million Afghans fled conflict to places of safety inside Afghanistan’s borders. Over a third of the yearly total fled in just one month – October. This mass movement was caused by heavy fighting between government and insurgent forces. At the year’s end, AAN’s Jelena Bjelica looks at the statistics of Afghanistan’s […]

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Caught Up in Regional Tensions? The mass return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan

Jelena Bjelica

More than half a million Afghan refugees have returned from Pakistan since July 2016, a huge number, on a scale not seen for a decade. United Nations agencies and human rights organisations have blamed fear of harassment and oppression by the Pakistani authorities, or in the case of undocumented refugees, fear of expulsion for the […]

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Afghan Exodus: Notes from a Belgrade squat

Martine van Bijlert Jelena Bjelica

The number of migrants, many of them Afghan, in Serbia has been steadily growing in the second half of 2016. More people continue to arrive, while departures have largely stagnated due to Hungary and Croatia tightening their border controls. As a result, Serbia is faced with a growing number of people on its soil who […]

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People seeking to travel to Europe in a bid to find a better life have been trying the cold Arctic route to get to Norway. Photo: Tolo News

Afghan Exodus: Can the Afghan government deal with more returnees from Europe?

Jelena Bjelica Fazl Rahman Muzhary

In the first nine months of this year, over 5,000 Afghans voluntary returned to Afghanistan from Europe. The recent signing of an agreement between Afghanistan and the European Union to allow deportations of those who have not been accepted as asylum seekers means the numbers of Afghans returning from Europe will rise. AAN’s Jelena Bjelica […]

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EU and Afghanistan Get Deal on Migrants: Disagreements, pressure and last minute politics

Jelena Bjelica

Finally, after a year of negotiations and some last minute hurdles – including on the Afghan side refusals to sign and an attempt to involve parliament – the European Union and Afghanistan have reached a ‘readmission’ agreement on how to return Afghans who have travelled to Europe and failed in their claims for asylum. President […]

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Afghan Exodus: Smuggling networks, migration and settlement patterns in Turkey

Noah Arjomand

Turkey is both a means and an end for Afghan migrants. Many thousands of Afghans seeking better lives have come to Istanbul, the bridge between east and west, on their way to the European Union. Many thousands have stayed on and built an expatriate community that both aids and exploits those passing through. In this […]

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The closure of the Balkan corridor has left many Afghans stranded and, again, dependent on indifferent and often abusive smuggler networks. (Photo Source: Tolo News)

Afghan Exodus: The re-emergence of smugglers along the Balkan route

Martine van Bijlert Jelena Bjelica

When the Balkan corridor closed in March 2016, Afghans trying to reach Europe found themselves stranded, once again at the mercy of smugglers’ networks. Many are still slowly making their way towards the outer fringes of the European Union at the Serbian-Hungarian border. Almost everyone transits through Belgrade, which has become an important hub for […]

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