In-Depth: From pillar to post - the plight of Afghans abroad

A 15-year-old Afghan boy takes a nap at a transit centre after being deported from Iran

KABUL, 27 February 2012 (IRIN) - The government of Afghanistan and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) are seeking endorsement of a new strategy which aims to provide sustainable solutions to the largest and most protracted refugee crisis in the world.

Over the last 30 years of war in Afghanistan at least 10 million people fled. Many have since returned but millions of Afghans remain outside their country, including about 2.7 million registered as refugees in Iran and Pakistan, and an estimated 2.4-3.4 million others in the two countries “illegally”. full report

AFGHANISTAN: Increased pressure on refugees to leave Pakistan

JALALABAD, 27 February 2012 (IRIN) - The Pakistani army and intelligence service are increasingly harassing Afghan migrants and refugees living in Pakistan’s tribal border area, in an attempt to drive them out of the country, Afghans who recently returned to Afghanistan told IRIN. full report

AFGHANISTAN: Bracing for mass evictions from Pakistan

JALALABAD, 27 February 2012 (IRIN) - The Afghan government and international aid workers are bracing for an imminent deportation from Pakistan of thousands of Afghan migrants and unregistered refugees - a move they warn could be destabilizing for the fragile country. full report

AFGHANISTAN-IRAN: Mehdi, “My hands were hurting because the handcuffs were too tight”

ISLAM QALA, 27 February 2012 (IRIN) - In an attempt to find long-term solutions for the estimated 1.4 million unregistered Afghans living within its borders, Iran adopted a legalization scheme last year that paved the way for Afghans to enter Iran legally with work visas. full report

PAKISTAN: Tolerance wanes as perceptions of Afghan refugees change

PESHAWAR, 27 February 2012 (IRIN) - Counting out a wad of crumpled notes, 50-year-old Muhammad Zahoor, owner of a small iron-welding business in Peshawar, capital of the Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province (KP), is full of complaints. full report

PAKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN: More Afghans crossing into Pakistan?

QUETTA, 24 February 2012 (IRIN) - In a tiny flat they have rented in Quetta, capital of Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan, bordering Afghanistan, Zarnab Bibi and her husband Aziz Khan* wait patiently for the phone to ring. full report

AFGHANISTAN: Towards more sustainable solutions for returnees

JALALABAD/SARACHA, 27 February 2012 (IRIN) - Baswra squats on a dirty street corner in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, watching fellow Afghans walk by with packages of assistance from aid agencies. When the door to the distribution site opens, she throws herself at it, waving documents in the face of anyone who will hear her story. full report

AFGHANISTAN-PAKISTAN: Timeline of Afghan displacements into Pakistan

PESHAWAR, 27 February 2012 (IRIN) – A new push to find durable solutions for Afghan refugees faces many challenges, including the continued flow of Afghans into Pakistan and questions around Pakistan’s willingness to continue hosting them. As the government of Afghanistan and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) look for endorsement of an ambitious new strategy, they are wrestling with decades of displacement in what has become the world’s most protracted refugee crisis. Here is a timeline: full report