Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Jelena Bjelica

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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How Neglect and Remoteness Bred Insurgency and a Poppy Boom: The story of Badghis

Jelena Bjelica

Badghis, a far-flung province in the west of the country, was the bad surprise in the 2016 Afghanistan Opium Survey of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The poppy cultivation area in Badghis increased almost by 200 percent compared to 2015, contributing significantly to the overall countrywide increase of ten per cent. AAN’s Jelena […]

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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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Herat Shorts Festival: The effects of armed conflict on children, seen through a cinematic lens

Jelena Bjelica

What do a 16-year high school student, a middle-aged aviation engineer, a 29-year old tenth-grader in night school and a 45-year old doctor in the Afghanistan National Border Police have in common? Not just that all of them come from the western region (Badghis or Herat), but all of them were also competitors in the first-ever […]

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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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Afghan and Pakistani migrants make their way to the Serbian-Hungarian border on foot in July 2016, in protest against the worsening conditions in Belgrade and in the hope of being let through. (Photo Source: Info Park)

Afghan Exodus: In transit through Serbia

Martine van Bijlert Jelena Bjelica

The unprecedented flow of people through the Western Balkans in late 2015 and early 2016, and the opening of a humanitarian corridor, provided a brief and unique opportunity for people from war-torn countries to reach the European Union. When the corridor closed in March 2016 many people, including many Afghans, found themselves stranded and, again, […]

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The Balkan Corridor: migrants are getting ready to be transported by bus from Presovo, near the Macedonian border in Serbia, to Croatia. December 2015. Photo by Info Park.

Afghan Exodus: The opening and closing of the Balkan corridor

Martine van Bijlert Jelena Bjelica

In late 2015 and early 2016, the Western Balkans witnessed an unprecedented flow of people through its borders on their way to Europe. For several months a ‘humanitarian corridor’ provided certain nationalities, including Afghans, with transportation to the outer fringes of the European Union. However, Afghans trying to reach Europe now once again find themselves […]

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AAN’s Jelena Bjelica discusses the issue of Afghanistan’s Landless Refugees – July 2016

Jelena Bjelica

More than 5.8 million Afghans, about 20 per cent of Afghanistan’s population, are refugees who have returned home since the fall of the Taleban according to UNHCR figures. Many found their houses destroyed or occupied, or discovered that a new set of laws had scrapped their tenancy rights. The government plan for distributing land to […]

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