Saturday, April 6, 2013

Afghans fleeing country ahead of Obama's 2014 deadline

From NBC News:
As tens of thousands of American troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan in time for the 2014 deadline set by the White House, another exodus is gathering pace: Afghans fleeing their country’s violence and economic uncertainty.

“The international community is leaving and we are right behind them,” Khalid Gul, a 23-year-old university student, said...

“If Americans – the soldiers and the troops – leave here we will have no proper security and we will have the Taliban here again,” Shorab Shinwari, a 21-year-old IT expert, said...

“Fear of instability in 2014 is driving emigration of the very people and money that could prevent instability,” STATT, an NGO that does research and polling, said in its January 2013 Afghan Migration in Flux report. “Most foresee a future of conflict, instability and chaos as fait accompli for the country.”...

Some Afghans scrambling to get out any way they can are paying $30,000 to $50,000 on the black market for fake passports and passage to another country, an exorbitant sum in a country where average annual income is estimated to be under the $500 a year...

Afghans already make up the biggest refugee population in the world at almost 3 million, with waves having left during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and again during the country’s civil war a decade later...

Some 5.7 million Afghans returned in the first few years after the 2001 U.S.-led intervention that toppled the Taliban regime, hopeful that living conditions in their country were improving...

[But] the tide of migrants shifted again. In 2011, more people fled Afghanistan than in any other year since the start of the decade-long war...
And the Washington Post reported earlier this year that, in 2012, at least 50,000 Afghans fled to Europe and Australia, more than twice as many as in 2011.

From the Washington Post - January 30, 2013:
Two decades after Afghanistan witnessed one of the 20th century's most dramatic refugee crises, a quieter exodus is gaining momentum. Last year, at least 50,000 Afghans fled to Europe and Australia, more than twice as many as in 2011.

The flight reflects a growing fear that security will worsen after NATO's military withdrawal by the end of 2014, a date that has taken on near-apocalyptic symbolism in parts of the country.

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