Features | Article Afghanistan
The Afghan exodus
During more than three decades, Afghanistan has suffered several wars and lived under the tyranny of the Taliban regime. The Afghan population abandoned their homes fleeing to Iran and Pakistan. Today in Afghanistan there are still 1.5 million Afghan refugees and almost two million undocumented. This represents the largest and most extended refugee population of the world. Most of the Afghans arrived to Pakistan for the first time during the decade of the 80's and beginning of the 90's, and many of them have build up their entire life in this new country. Many have contributed to the economic development in rural zones and in the cities, they also have established tight social ties with the Pakistani as friends, with marriages, in businesses or just living with the locals in the same neighbourhoods.
Despite that, the hostilities against Afghans have raised considerably in recent years due to factors like the fatigue of the hosts and the nationalist tensions. Every time it is more usual to find negative stereotypes in media and in the political speeches. Seemingly, with the violence that still exists in their country and the withdraw of the Afghan coalition troops, official sources fear that there could be a new wave of displaced due to increased insecurity, or even some versions state that there could be a new civil war outbreak.
The situation of the refugees in Pakistan changed dramatically after December 16 of 2014 following an attack of Taliban militants who assaulted a military school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing more than 140 people, mainly children. Immediately after this incident started the persecution of the Afghan refugees since it is thought that Afghans committed the attack. This is the reason why, after having lived more than two decades in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) in Pakistan, thousands of refugees were forced to return to Afghanistan following a nation wide operation to expel all the undocumented refugees.