By: Suraya Raiszada
Officials for the ministry of refugees and repatriates say nearly 500,000 Afghan refugees have returned home since the beginning of 2019.
“499,000 Afghan refugees have returned home mostly from Pakistan and Iran since the beginning of 2019,” said Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi, minister of refugees and repatriates.
Speaking to journalists in a news conference, minister of refugees and repatriates said that most Afghan refugees have returned from Pakistan and Iran, adding that 462,000 have returned from Pakistan and Iran, while 34089 refugees have returned from other countries.
Based on information of the ministry of refugees and repatriates, 365 Afghans have voluntarily returned home, while 967 others have been deported from EU member countries in the past 11 months.
The ministry added that a total of 10.165 million Afghan refugees have returned home during the past 18 years.
In the last 5 years, more than 4 million Afghans came back to the country, yet there are many more of them living in the other countries, minister of refugees and repatriation asserted, stressing that the main reason for these migrations is the civil war going on in the country.
Pointing out that the number of Internal Displaced People (IDP) was also high because of the continued war and violence in the country. minister of refugees added: “We have two plans on hand. Firstly, we want to merge the IDPs with the place they live right now as an instance, Kamaluddin Behzad’s camp in Herat. Secondly, we want to provide the opportunities for them to return to their original place”.
This comes as in 2018 more than 218,602 IDPs returned to their original places, yet more than 600,000 people are still IDPs.
Afghan refugees have found sanctuary in over 80 countries worldwide and are, yet again, the largest groups of asylum-seekers currently arriving in Europe. What is too often overlooked, however, is that almost 90 percent of displaced Afghans live in just two countries: Pakistan and Iran. These governments, in the face of their own socioeconomic challenges, have generously hosted their neighbors.
In both countries, Afghan refugees live freely in major cities, children are able to attend primary school, and all can access local healthcare systems. From just 6 percent 40 years ago, the literacy of Afghan children in Iran now stands at 69 percent.
Such inclusion and achievements put most of the world’s wealthiest nations to shame.
To end the Afghan exile, all parties to the Afghan conflict as well as international partners should give hands together to work for lasting peace and security in Afghanistan. Besides, Afghanistan government should also make effort to provide better opportunities of employment and education for its citizens in particular youth not to leave their country for neighboring and world countries.