ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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No Country for Afghans

Afghanistan is clearly unprepared for a massive influx of refugees, and human rights groups have raised concerns about their future in a country ripped apart by war and terrorism with a worsening security situation. Many of the refugees are likely to join the ranks of close to a million internally displaced people in Afghanistan and live in inhuman conditions by all accounts.

While a record number of Afghan refugees returned home from Pakistan in 2016, there is little to celebrate. When the numbers started swelling after mid-2016, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the refugee agency of the United Nations (UN) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) spoke of an escalating humanitarian crisis.1

The wary green eyes of Sharbat Gula, perhaps the most famous Afghan refugee we know, whose photograph was published on the cover page of an issue of the National Geographic magazine in 1985, reflect a certain indefinable anxiety. Then she was simply known as the Afghan girl till many years; later in 2002, the photographer Steve McCurry went back and found her in Tora Bora mountains and learnt more about her. In 2016, she was arrested in Pakistan and deported for possessing a forged computerised national identity card. Much has been written about her piercing green eyes, but very little of the plight of Afghan refugees, who just like her, faced a government crackdown. An ailing Gula was welcomed back in Kabul by President Ashraf Ghani in November 2016 and given a government apartment, but the rest of the refugees may not be so fortunate.

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Updated On : 18th Apr, 2017

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