Forced to flee Afghanistan, the struggle of many refugees does not end there

‘The return of the Taliban meant a return of terror for the Hazara people.’

Surraya, whose name means ‘Brightest Star’, is a 33-year-old Afghan Hazara woman currently living as a refugee in Pakistan. Born to refugee parents who fled to Iran following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980, Surraya and her family returned to their country in 2004 in hope of peace, security and development.

And, for a decade and a half, while she and members of her fellow Hazara community did face some challenges and discrimination, those hopes seemed genuinely within reach.

Continue reading “Forced to flee Afghanistan, the struggle of many refugees does not end there”

Another terrorist attack reminds us of the Taliban’s failure to protect Afghan citizens

This piece was originally published on 14 October 2022 in Sight Magazine.

This time last year saw two shocking attacks on Afghanistan’s Shia Muslim community. First, on 8 October 2021, a suicide bomber affiliated with the Islamic State – Khorasan Province targeted a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz with an attack timed to coincide with Friday prayers which claimed at least 50 lives and injured 100 others. Some estimates placed the death toll as high as 100.

Then, exactly one week later, terrorists bombed another Shia mosque, again timed to coincide with Friday prayers, in the southern city of Kandahar. Estimates of those killed range between 47 and 65, while at least 80 others were said to have been injured.

CSW wrote at the time that the attacks “raised questions about the Taliban’s ability to offer security to citizens of Afghanistan, which they had presented as a key benefit of their rule.” And then, last month, with the anniversaries of both attacks on the horizon, the Shia community was targeted once again.

Continue reading Another terrorist attack reminds us of the Taliban’s failure to protect Afghan citizens

A holistic response to forced migration

Displacement due to adverse circumstances has existed for as long as humankind has walked the earth. Yet in a stark contrast to those fleeing the violence in Ukraine, others genuinely seeking refuge in Europe from dangerous situations today are increasingly dismissed as economic migrants on the grounds of their ethnicity or religious identity. What, or rather who deserves to find refuge and make a country their home is continually being contested. 

Statistically speaking, the world is facing the largest displacement crisis since the Second World War, with close to three million people having fled the war in Ukraine in a matter of weeks. Other individuals and communities are fleeing from some of the most dangerous areas of the world in search of a new life – or to put it bluntly, life at all.

Western countries only host 14% of the world’s refugees

The vast majority of the world’s refugees flee to neighbouring countries, for example to Lebanon in the case of Syrians, or to Bangladesh in the case of Rohingyas from Myanmar/Burma. However, Western nations, where fears of ‘mass migration’ are exploited in populist ethnic and religion-laced politics and loom large on the media landscape, host just 14% of the world’s refugees.

Continue reading “A holistic response to forced migration”