Afghan diaspora

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Afghan Diaspora
Flag of Afghanistan.svg
Regions with significant populations
 Pakistan2 million Afghans in Pakistan[1]
 Iran2.5 million (2015 estimate) Afghans in Iran[2]
 United Arab Emirates300,000 UAE[3]
 Germany350,000 (People holding Afghan citizenship) Afghans in Germany[4]
 Russia150,000 Afghans in Russia[5]
 United States97,865 (2014 ACS) Afghan Americans[6]
 United Kingdom76,000 (2015) Afghans in the UK[7]
 Netherlands60,000 (2013) Afghans in the Netherlands[9]
 Australia19,416 Afghan Australians[10]
 India11,439,000 Afghans in India[11] [12]
 Canada83,995 (2016) Afghan Canadian[13]
 Denmark15,854[citation needed]
 Sweden44,000 Afghans in Sweden[14]
 Turkey120,500 Afghans in Turkey[15]
 Qatar3,500 Afghans in Qatar[16]
Pashto, Dari (Afghan Persian) or languages spoken in the respective country of residence
c. 99% Islam followed by c. 1% other religions

Afghan diaspora or Afghan immigrants are citizens of Afghanistan who have immigrated to other countries, or people of Afghan origin who are born outside Afghanistan. Traditionally, the borders between Afghanistan and its southern and eastern neighboring countries have been fluid and vague.[17] Like other nations that were created by European empires, the borders of Afghanistan with neighboring countries often do not follow ethnic divisions, and several native ethnic groups are found on both sides of Afghanistan's border.[18] This means that historically there was much movement across present day barriers.[18]

After the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, refugees fled to neighboring Pakistan and Iran. Some rural Afghan refugees began returning to their homeland in 1992, but the outbreak of a major civil war after the mujahideen took over control of Kabul and the other major cities meant that Afghans again began fleeing to neighboring countries, this time many being urbanites. Afghan Sikhs and Afghan Hindus journeyed to India.[19]

Since March 2002, most Afghan refugees have been repatriated to Afghanistan with UNHCR's assistance.[20] Around 1.3 million still remain in Pakistan,[21] while 2.5 million are in Iran.[2] Several countries that were part of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have granted permanent residency to smaller number of Afghans that worked with their respective forces.[22] Afghan natives now reside in at least 78 countries around the world.[23]

Afghans returning from Pakistan often complain that "they have been beaten and slapped and told nobody in Pakistan wants them anymore."[24] Returnees from Iran experience similar or worst punishments.[25] A number of returnees to Afghanistan make new journeys to the European Union (EU) to seek asylum there.[25] To abide by United Nations Convention against Torture, Pakistan has agreed that no Afghan refugee would be forcefully removed from its country. Under a new agreement between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the UNHCR, the Afghans in Pakistan are officially allowed to remain until the end of 2017.[21] The Afghans in Iran have also been given extended time.[26][27][28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pakistan Still Home To 2 Million Afghan Refugees: UNHCR". TOLOnews. 20 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b "جدیدترین آمار تعداد مهاجران افغانی در ایران". Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  3. ^ Shahbandari, Shafaat (November 30, 2012). "Afghans take hope from UAE's achievements". Gulf News. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  4. ^ Leubecher, Marcel (16 August 2017). "Zahl der Afghanen hat sich verfünffacht". Welt (in German). Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Moscow's 'Little Kabul'". Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. 25 December 2017.
  6. ^ "2014 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates: Afghan". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  7. ^ Jones, Sophie (July 2010). "Afghans in the UK" (PDF). Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-16. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  8. ^ "Bevölkerung nach Staatsangehörigkeit und Geburtsland". 18 May 2018.
  9. ^ Smouter, Karel. "Dit is het Nederland van 44.000 Afghanen".
  10. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006). "20680-Ancestry (full classification list) by Sex - Australia". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  11. ^ "Pashtuns in india". Joshua Project. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Tough times follow Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban to Delhi". The Indian Express. Associated Press. July 24, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  13. ^ Statistics Canada (2006). "Immigrant population by place of birth and period of immigration (2006 Census)". Statistics Canada. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  14. ^ "Population by country of birth, age and sex. Year 2000 - 2017". Statistics Sweden.
  15. ^ UN High Commissioner for Refugees (10 February 2017). "UNHCR Turkey: Afghan Persons of Concern | Afghan Refugees and Asylum Seekers registered with UNHCR (January 2017)".
  16. ^ Snoj, Jure (18 December 2013). "Population of Qatar by nationality". bq magazine. Archived from the original on 12 February 2017.
  17. ^ "The Durand line: History, Consequences, and Future" (PDF). Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  18. ^ a b Carberry (2013)[full citation needed]
  19. ^ Bose, Nayana (March 10, 2006). "Afghan refugees in India become Indian, at last". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  20. ^ UNHCR (November 2016). "Voluntary Repatriation Update" (PDF).
  21. ^ a b UNHCR (7 February 2017). "UNHCR welcomes new government policy for Afghans in Pakistan".
  22. ^ Stainburn, Samantha (May 22, 2013). "UK, Denmark to give Afghan interpreters visas". GlobalPost. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  23. ^ Braakman, Marije. Roots and Routes: Questions of Home, Belonging and Return in an Afghan Diaspora (PDF) (MA).
  24. ^ Goldstein, Joseph (February 23, 2015). "Refugees Are Pushed to Exits in Pakistan". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  25. ^ a b Goldstein, Joseph (September 13, 2015). "For $14.50, Afghan Refugees Make a Desperate Bet on a Way Out". The New York Times. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  26. ^ Strickland, Patrick (May 17, 2016). "Why are Afghan refugees leaving Iran?". al-Jazeera.
  27. ^ Hajimohammadi, Abbas; Dulai, Shaminder, eds. (6 November 2014). "Photos: The Life of Afghan Refugees in Tehran". Newsweek. Retrieved 2014-11-07.
  28. ^ "Iran: Afghan Refugees and Migrants Face Abuse". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved May 15, 2015.

Further reading[edit]