Home | Editorial | Volunteer repatriation of Afghan refugees

Volunteer repatriation of Afghan refugees

By
Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
Volunteer repatriation of Afghan refugees
 Some 2.6 million Afghan refugees reportedly live in more than 70 countries around the world. An overwhelming majority, around 95 percent, are hosted by just two countries – the Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan, where over 5.8 million Afghans have returned home since 2002.
Through international re-engagement in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the 5.8 million Afghan refugees’repatriation became the largest voluntary repatriation in the history of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 
Despite Afghan refugees’ record repatriation and the many hardships, they face on return, Iranian and Pakistani officials have occasionally politicized what is a humanitarian issue –labeling Afghan refugees as a “burden on our economy” or potential “recruits for terrorism.” Unfortunately, these political stereotypes not only mischaracterize Afghan refugees but also disregard the many contributions that refugees make to their host societies aand the world at large.
Meanwhile millions of Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan and Iran are indeed assets to these countries’ development and economies. Many Afghans in both countries has filled a big gap in the labor sector, working casual jobs at wages much lower than that paid to locals who may not even be willing to accept such jobs because of social taboos associated with casual labor. Other Afghan refugees use their special skills. For instance, carpet weavers produce quality Afghan rugs, which local firms purchase below market price, brand them made in the host country, and then sell in developed countries for a large profit.
Since 2001, many exiled Afghan businessmen have returned home and invested in key sectors such as telecommunications, construction, transportation, and logistics, which in turn have facilitated increased trade and commerce through and between Afghanistan and its neighbors, particularly Pakistan and Iran.
But this is while that these countries have abused Afghan refugees’ problems and have time and again used them in their own proxy wars. Pakistan has recruited and trained many refugees in their Madrassas to carry out insurgency against Afghan people and the nation in the so-called Jihad. Iran has also spared no effort in hiring Afghan refugees and sending them to Syrian war to fight for their own interest.
These refugees left their country only to seek a better life, but they found it different and the neighboring countries conditioned issuing residency to these people only if they fight for their interests which many Afghans either lost their lives or prisoned for unknown reasons.
Therefore, to encourage the refugees to return home, the government has initiated many plans, including construction of residential units to returnees in Kabul and Nangarhar provinces. Despite to this, government in collaboration with the international community and the UNHCR AND IOM should also work to provide various employment and accommodation alternatives.
Hence, Pakistan, Iran and Western nations with high concentrations of Afghan asylum seekers can and must cooperate to stabilize Afghanistan. Durable stability and prosperity in the country will automatically encourage Afghan refugees to voluntarily return home – negating the need for pressure or forcible repatriation by the host states.
 

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (0 posted)

total: | displaying:

Post your comment

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Underline
  • Quote

Please enter the code you see in the image:

Captcha