Afghan refugees’ crisis needs concrete solutions

The interminable war and violence in Afghanistan forced a large number of Afghan people to take refuge to foreign countries. Abandoning the country seemed the only panacea for the problem since war and bloodshed took lives of millions of innocent civilians in the country.
There was great hope and expectation that with the advent of the new period in the contemporary history of Afghanistan, the millions of refugees scattered throughout the world can return to their motherland and start a peaceful life anew. However, the continued instability, insecurity, widespread poverty and lack of economic opportunities and livelihoods have shattered these dreams and made the return of refugees impossible.
Addressing a ceremony on World Refugee Day here in Kabul the other day, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said that leaving the country is not a solution for the problems facing by Afghans but he added that it is hard to understand the situation of every family, considering the circumstances on the ground.
Figures show that up to 2.7 million Afghan refugees are living in Pakistan while three million others are living in Iran. However, figures by the International Organization for Migration indicate that the return of Afghan refugees from Iran and Pakistan has increased in recent months.
Dr. Abdullah said that a peaceful and secure situation, access to education, job and healthcare are the demand of every Afghan migrant who returns to the country. He said that a number of meetings have been held on safe and honorable repatriation of Afghan refugees from neighboring countries. 
“The refugees’ issue does not only belong to the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation; it is the responsibility of all of us,” he said. “The people of Afghanistan will overcome the tough days and will have a better future.”
This comes as Afghanistan, Pakistan and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have unanimously agreed on a joint 12-point declaration aimed at the “safe and honorable” repatriation of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan for the past four decades, according to Pakistan media reports. 
It is believed that persisting on refugees to return without paving the ground for them will be counterproductive. Poverty and unemployment will force them into crime and corruption. It should be noted that many members of terrorist groups come from poor background. In brief, they joined terrorist parties to alleviate their economic challenges rather than exercising an ideology. No wonder, no effective strategy for combating terrorism or tackling the economic crises will widen the gap between state and nation. 
The government of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation Affairs cannot itself solve the magnitude of the problems before refugees. The long-term solution lies in putting an end to a war that has caused so much chaos and destruction for the past many decades and then providing greater means for a dignified life for these families.
In the meantime, the people, government and its allies have the responsibility of providing care and assistance to the repatriating families and those have been internally displaced as a result of war in many parts of the country.

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