The Basics • Afghanistan is an extremely poor, landlocked country. • People are motivated to leave due to political and economic conditions. • 900,000 estimated to be internally displaced, with further hundreds of thousands fleeing to the surrounding countries of Pakistan and Iran. • 3.6 million refugees still living in Pakistan from the 1979-89 Soviet invasion.
Reasons for leaving Afghanistan • 40% of Afghanistan’s population live below the UN poverty line • Political and economic hardship combined with repeated famines has made migration the only option for millions of impoverished Afghans • Protracted civil war • The nation is in the midst of its worst drought in 30 years • People’s lives are under threat of further American military attacks • Appalling child mortality rates, health-care provision, and nutrition levels
Where The Refugees Go • 1 The border with Pakistan stretches over 2500km, most of which is mountainous terrain. Approximately 250,000 people tried to cross the border in October 2001 alone • 2 Iran currently has more than 1.7 million refugees from Afghanistan • 3 At Peshawar the UN Food Aid Agency provides monthly food rations to 57,000 in two camps 1 3 1 1 2 1 1
Where The Refugees Go • 4 At Jalozai, a makeshift refugee camp established in November 2000, and closed February 2002, more than 100,000 refugees lived. Conditions in the camp were poor, with a severe lack of shelter, food, or decent medical provision. 4
Attitude of Afghan Government • The new democratic Afghan government is keen to see the return of the refugees • In economic terms, the displaced millions represent a large potential labour force and consumer market • The rebuilding of the country can only be achieved with stability. This comes from maintaining a fixed and permanent population
Attitude of Pakistani Government • Pakistan is a poor, heavily populated country, suffering from internal political disputes, lack of foreign investment, and a costly confrontation with neighboring India • It has $21bn in foreign debt due in 2002/2003, totaling 50% of government expenditure • A large proportion of its own people live below the UN poverty line • Country cannot support the refugees, and the government wishes to close the border to them, and return the many millions of existing Afghan refugees as soon as possible • However, international concern has obligated them to take a ‘soft’ approach to refugees from Afghanistan
Webliography • pupilvision.com • worldvision.org • amnesty.org • refugees.org • english.pravda.ru/war • odci.gov/cia/