UNICEF says 1.6 million people from Afghanistan fled country in past two years

File photo.

Approximately 1.6 million people from Afghanistan have fled to neighboring countries since the Taliban regained power in August 2021, according to UNICEF.

The organization said the majority of these migrants sought refuge in Iran and Pakistan.

In 2023, UNICEF estimates that over $66 million is required to provide aid to refugees residing in Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The organization’s efforts are focused on addressing the pressing needs of refugees from Afghanistan, especially vulnerable groups such as children and women.

“People who immigrate from the country face economic problems and lack of identity documents. On the other hand, cultural and sometimes linguistic incompatibility has multiplied their problems,” said Asefa Stanikzai, a migrant rights activist.

Fareed Rostaqi, a refugee in Pakistan, emphasized that support organizations often do not differentiate between migrants and other groups, leading to additional challenges for those seeking assistance.

One of the concerning aspects of this migration is the exodus of skilled professionals and young people from Afghanistan.

This brain drain is seen as a significant setback for the country’s development and future prospects.

Hafiz Ahmad Miakhil, a former adviser to the Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, expressed concern about the migration of skilled workers and its potential long-term impact on Afghanistan.

UNICEF also stated that more than eight million Afghanistan nationals are currently living in neighboring countries – as of June 2023.

The living conditions of these refugees are a cause for concern, and addressing their needs remains a critical humanitarian challenge, the organization said.