Where do Afghanistan’s refugees go?

Images of thousands of Afghans desperately trying to flee their country following a hasty U.S. withdrawal have provoked an international outcry.

As of Aug. 22, 2021, some 6,000 U.S. troops were working to evacuate U.S. military, American citizens and Afghans who are approved for Special Immigrant Visas. SIVs are a special program to protect Afghans who risked their lives working for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

GermanyFranceItaly and the U.K. are conducting smaller evacuation efforts for their nationals and some Afghans.

The pace of these poorly planned evacuations has been slow. They are taking place amid chaos in Kabul, where crowds are being confronted by violence from members of the now-ruling Taliban and U.S. forces and facing checkpoints that are near-impossible to pass.

Do experts have something to add to public debate?

We think so

Shaharzad Akbar, who leads the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, called the situation “failure upon failure.”

As a scholar specializing in forcible displacement and refugees, I see this harrowing scene unfolding within a broader context of Afghanistan’s long-standing displacement crisis. This includes an unequal sharing of refugees between the developed world and economically disadvantaged countries.

A muted US role

The U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 standardized the procedures for admitting refugees – people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution – and put in place a rigorous vetting process. But over the past 40 years, U.S. acceptance rates for refugees worldwide have fallen significantly – from 200,000 admitted in 1980 to less than 50,000 in 2019.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CONVERSATION

One thought on “Where do Afghanistan’s refugees go?

  1. The numbers tell a part of the story that I needed to see. They highlight the “regional” character of the whole mess, and throw headlines about how many were evacuated by air, and how many “remain in place awaiting airlift out” into stark contrast.

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