Afghan diaspora

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Afghan Diaspora
Flag of Afghanistan.svg
Regions with significant populations
 Iran2.5 million (2015 estimate) Afghans in Iran[1]
 Pakistan2 million Afghans in Pakistan[2]
 Germany260,000 (People holding Afghan citizenship as of 31.12.2018) Afghans in Germany[3]
 United Arab Emirates300,000 UAE[4]
 Russia150,000 Afghans in Russia[5]
 Turkey120,500 Afghans in Turkey[6]
 United States97,865 (2014 ACS) Afghan Americans[7]
 Canada83,995 (2016) Afghan Canadian[8]
 United Kingdom83,000 (2015) Afghans in the UK[9]
 Netherlands60,000 (2013) Afghans in the Netherlands[10]
 Australia46,800 by birth (2016)[11]
 Sweden34,754 (2016) Afghans in Sweden[13]
 Denmark18,379 (2017) Afghans in Denmark[citation needed]
 India12,000-18,000 Afghans in India[14][15][16]
 Israel10,000[17] History of the Jews in Afghanistan
 Finland9,667 Afghans in Finland
 Qatar3,500 Afghans in Qatar[18]
 New Zealand3,414 Afghans in New Zealand[19]
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.[20] 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.[21] This means that historically there was much movement across present day barriers.[21]

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.[22]

Since March 2002, most Afghan refugees have been repatriated to Afghanistan with UNHCR's assistance.[23] Around 1.3 million still remain in Pakistan,[24] while 2.5 million are in Iran.[1] 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.[25] Afghan natives now reside in at least 78 countries around the world.[26]

Some Afghans returning from Pakistan often complain that "they have been beaten and slapped and told nobody in Pakistan wants them anymore."[27] Still, many refugees regard Pakistan as their home.[28] Returnees from Iran experience similar or worst punishments.[29] A number of returnees to Afghanistan make new journeys to the European Union (EU) to seek asylum there.[29] To abide by United Nations Convention against Torture, the Pakistani government has agreed that no Afghan refugee would be forcefully removed from their country. Under a new agreement between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the UNHCR, the Afghans in Pakistan were officially allowed to remain until the end of 2017.[24] In June of 2019, Pakistan's cabinet decided to extend the Proof of Registration (PoR) cards of Afghan refugees until 30 June 2020.[30] The Afghans in Iran have also been given extended time.[31][32][33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "جدیدترین آمار تعداد مهاجران افغانی در ایران". Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Pakistan Still Home To 2 Million Afghan Refugees: UNHCR". TOLOnews. 20 June 2017.
  3. ^ Leubecher, Marcel (15 April 2019). "In Deutschland leben so viele Ausländer wie noch nie. Wo kommen sie her?". Handelsblatt (in German). Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  4. ^ Shahbandari, Shafaat (November 30, 2012). "Afghans take hope from UAE's achievements". Gulf News. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  5. ^ "Moscow's 'Little Kabul'". Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. 25 December 2017.
  6. ^ UN High Commissioner for Refugees (10 February 2017). "UNHCR Turkey: Afghan Persons of Concern | Afghan Refugees and Asylum Seekers registered with UNHCR (January 2017)".
  7. ^ "2014 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates: Afghan". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  8. ^ Statistics Canada (2006). "Immigrant population by place of birth and period of immigration (2006 Census)". Statistics Canada. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Smouter, Karel. "Dit is het Nederland van 44.000 Afghanen".
  11. ^ "2016 QuickStats Country of Birth". Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  12. ^ "Bevölkerung nach Staatsangehörigkeit und Geburtsland". 18 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Foreign-born persons by country of birth, age, sex and year". Statistics Sweden. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Afghan refugees in search of Indian identity". UNHCR. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Tough times follow Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban to Delhi". The Indian Express. Associated Press. July 24, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  16. ^ [1] June 22, 2017. Retrieved 2019-05-01
  17. ^ Arbabzadah, Nushin (28 February 2012). "The story of the Afghan Jews is one of remarkable tolerance". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  18. ^ Snoj, Jure (18 December 2013). "Population of Qatar by nationality". bq magazine. Archived from the original on 12 February 2017.
  19. ^ 2013 Census ethnic group profiles: Afghani
  20. ^ "The Durand line: History, Consequences, and Future" (PDF). Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  21. ^ a b Carberry (2013)[full citation needed]
  22. ^ Bose, Nayana (March 10, 2006). "Afghan refugees in India become Indian, at last". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  23. ^ UNHCR (November 2016). "Voluntary Repatriation Update" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-02-20. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  24. ^ a b UNHCR (7 February 2017). "UNHCR welcomes new government policy for Afghans in Pakistan".
  25. ^ Stainburn, Samantha (May 22, 2013). "UK, Denmark to give Afghan interpreters visas". GlobalPost. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  26. ^ Braakman, Marije. Roots and Routes: Questions of Home, Belonging and Return in an Afghan Diaspora (PDF) (MA).
  27. ^ Goldstein, Joseph (February 23, 2015). "Refugees Are Pushed to Exits in Pakistan". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  28. ^ "Feature: Afghan refugees regard Pakistan as home - Xinhua |". Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "UNHCR welcomes Pakistan cabinet's decision to extend stay of Afghan refugees". UNHCR PAKISTAN. 2019-06-28. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  31. ^ Strickland, Patrick (May 17, 2016). "Why are Afghan refugees leaving Iran?". al-Jazeera.
  32. ^ Hajimohammadi, Abbas; Dulai, Shaminder, eds. (6 November 2014). "Photos: The Life of Afghan Refugees in Tehran". Newsweek. Retrieved 2014-11-07.
  33. ^ "Iran: Afghan Refugees and Migrants Face Abuse". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved May 15, 2015.

Further reading[edit]