Afghan migration to Turkey dates back to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, when large amounts of Afghans came into Turkey. However, no proper records were kept during the period and due to the obscure state of irregular migration to Turkey, maintaining accurate statistics of Afghan migration has been difficult. In 2002, an article by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet claimed there were "thousands" of Afghans living throughout the country.
Afghans are one of the largest irregular migrant groups in Turkey. From the period 2003-2007, the number of Afghans apprehended were significant, with statistics almost doubling during the last year. Most had fled the War in Afghanistan. In 2005, refugees from Afghanistan numbered 300 and made a sizeable proportion of Turkey's registered migrants. Most of them were spread out over satellite cities with Van and Ağrı being the most specific locations. In the following years, the number of Afghans entering Turkey greatly increased, second only to migrants from Iraq; in 2009, there were 16,000 people designated under the Iraq-Afghanistan category. Despite a dramatic 50 percent reduction by 2010, reports confirmed hundreds living and working in Turkey. As of January 2010, Afghans consisted one-sixth of the 26,000 remaining refugees and asylum seekers. By the end 2011, their numbers are expected to surge up to 10,000, making them the largest population and surpass other groups.