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 neighbouring state have been fluid and vague. Like many nations created by European empires, the borders often do not follow ethnic divisions, and many ethnic groups and tribes native to Afghanistan are found on both sides of Afghanistan's present-day northern and especially southern borders. This meant that historically there was much movement across present day barriers.
Ever since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, refugees have fled into the surrounding states. After the Soviets left, civil war, Taliban conquest, and most recently the Western-led invasion after September 11, 2001 have meant constant warfare in Afghanistan. Millions have fled the violence, then in times of relative peace returned, only to flee again when renewed fighting broke out. About six million Afghan refugees have fled to neighboring Pakistan (mainly NWFP) and Iran, making Afghanistan the largest refugee-producing country in the world, a title it has held for 32 years. The mass majority of Afghan refugees (95%) are located in either Iran or Pakistan. Some NATO countries that were part of the NATO forces took in refugees or Afghans that worked with their respective forces. Ethnic minorities, like Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, often fled to India.
In 2013-2014, 2.4 million Afghan refugees were living in Iran, with only 0.8 million of them being registered as legal migrants. Similarly 1.5 million officially registered Afghan refugees were reported to be living in Pakistan in addition to approximately one million more illegal refugees.
In December 2014, there was a terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar by the Pakistani Taliban, and over 100 school children were killed. A few Afghans were involved. Following the attack, Afghan refugees in Pakistan began to encounter serious harassment and often were told to return to Afghanistan. There was a mass exodus of tens of thousands of refugees, which as of February 2015 was ongoing.
As shown in the table below, the refugees (both legal and illegal) fled Afghanistan in four main waves:
^Joseph Goldstein (February 23, 2015). "Refugees Are Pushed to Exits in Pakistan". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2015. they all say they have been beaten and slapped and told nobody in Pakistan wants them anymore