Afghanis flee divided nation in their millions
AFGHANISTAN’S history is a complex one littered with conflicts, changes of governments and, in the past 30 years, a mass exodus of its people. The United Nations has reported that as many as 10 million Afghans have fled the country over a 30-year period. Since 2002, 5.8 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, Afghan refugees still constitute the second-largest refugee group, and the group also represents about 18% of the global refugee population.
The Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees report found that although Afghan refugees are dispersed across more than 70 countries, an overwhelming 95% (about 2.5 million) continue to be hosted by just two countries – Iran and Pakistan.
The report also found half of the Afghan refugee population is children younger than 18.
“(It’s) a fact that underlines the vulnerability of the displaced communities and stresses the need for urgent, prioritised responses,” the report stated.
The report also found that Turkey remained the principal destination for Afghan asylum-seekers in 2014, with 15,700 applications, followed by Germany (9100), Hungary (8500), Austria (5100), and Indonesia (3600).
Australian Government figures show that in 2014–2015, 1604 Afghan offshore Convention refugees were resettled to Australia.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website stated Afghanistan-Australia relations could be traced back to the 1860s when Afghan cameleers came to Australia.
For half a century, the cameleers played a crucial role in the exploration and development of the Australian outback, ferrying supplies across the continent. The Adelaide to Darwin train, the Ghan, is named in their honour.
Afghanistan has had 20 different flags since 1709. The current flag has black, red and green vertical stripes with a mosque and coat of arms emblem in the middle.
Afghan children receive winter relief goods provided by the World Food Program in Kabul, Afghanistan.