From Crisis to Resilience: Unearthing the Afghan Refugee Experience in Pakistan

The Afghan refugee crisis in Pakistan has long been a cause of instability in the region, particularly in the highly militarized FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) land. This study aims to discover the unspoken truths and rich stories of the refugees as well as explore their experiences with military hegemony. To comprehensively address this topic, it is crucial to conduct a thorough examination of the historical migration of Afghan refugees, the economic and strategic significance of the FATA region, and Pakistan’s relationship with its neighboring countries, particularly in the context of both recent and past Taliban policies.

Afghanistan has been a land of political disorder and economic turmoil, particularly enhanced since the 1990s when the infamous Taliban group seized control of the country. Educated and bred in the Pashtun areas in northern Pakistan and borders of Afghanistan, with major funding coming in from Saudi Arabia, these Taliban leaders had initially been harbored to restore peace and security while upholding the Sharia, or Islamic law. (1) 

Weary of decades of infighting after the Soviets had been pushed out, and constant chaos and war, the natives of Afghanistan had initially welcomed the Taliban invasion as they held onto the hope of a new more secure homeland. However,  soon they found themselves once again at the mercy of extremist rule. Since 1979, more than six million Afghan refugees (2) began large-scale migrations to leave their homeland that had now once again fallen into what seemed an unrecoverable Taliban takeover. In October 2001, American bombardment caused 3.6 million Afghans to flee to neighboring countries of Pakistan and Iran, while approximately 700,000 more were internally displaced. 

While Pakistan has now closed its borders to any further refugees, it still struggles to adequately provide for all those who have entered since 1979. Due to the Taliban victory across the border in Afghanistan, instability had increased exponentially. According to the UNHCR Data 2020, Pakistan currently hosts the highest number of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers – a whopping 1,450,000 (3). Ever since 2005, approximately 2.1 million residents of FATA have been forced to take refuge in KPK, which had imposed serious problems for the local government as they were already struggling to fulfill the needs of their current impoverished local population (4). According to the Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), approximately 13,000 families – about 76,000 people – have been displaced in the Tirah Valley (Khyber Agency) in north Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, since March 2013 (5). 

The area of FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) is of immense value to the war on terrorism and refugees in Pakistan. In the aftermath of 9/11, FATA became a refuge for militants of all backgrounds and thus a major threat to the international forums and communities. Launched in October 2001, America’s Operation Enduring Freedom led to many Taliban fighters, Al-Qaida, and associated groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, finding their new safe haven in the FATA region (6). Simultaneously, massive-scale refugee movements to the region led to many Pashtuns creating their own livelihoods there. As the Taliban emerged stronger than ever before, FATA was converted into the epicenter of terrorist strikes and attacks on mainland Pakistan. The Pakistani Military and Government launched several operations to dislodge the terrorist network and they found success in most regions of the FATA territory, promising peace and stability (7). 

Many of these refugees have lost their possessions, land, home, and loved ones. But the far more dangerous loss is that which is psychological and therefore, unseen. Indeed, this seems to be true as Javid Khan, an official from the National Disaster Management Authority, recognized PTSD as the most common ailment among the distressed. Depersonalisation and derealisation are other conditions that can be experienced. They are classified as dissociative disorders in the DSM-IV. Depersonalisation involves feeling out of one’s body and experiencing intense disorientation. Derealisation, on the other hand, is characterized by perceiving the external world as dream-like or unreal (8). Moreover, in terms of the ethnicity of these refugees, the majority of refugees from Afghanistan who made it into Pakistani borders were Pashtuns whereas those in Iran were hazaras (9). 

The following are real-time interviews my team and I conducted over a 6 month period:


Interview 1: 

Where are you from? Where did you grow up? 

My father came to Karachi for work, which is where I was born. We went back to FATA once I was a little older because my father wanted to be with his brothers again, and because the rest of our family and our farm was in Waziristan. We had to leave it all behind when my mother and father came to Karachi. 


Where are you now? 

I live in Sohrab Goth, Karachi, where a lot of other people [from FATA] are too. My family all came here soon after the war in Waziristan in 2000, when I was around 10 or 11 years old. We have been living in Karachi for some time now, and I met my wife, who was also from FATA and had come to Karachi as around the same year 

as us. After maybe 17 years of being in Karachi, the government compensated us for what we had to leave behind, but it wasn’t even close to being enough considering we had to divide that little sum among the whole family. My father was given 400,000 rupees, which he had to split with his three brothers, who are all married with children, and my siblings and I, who are also married with children. It came nowhere close to being able to replace what we had lost; all our clothes, our farm and its produce and animals, our home. 


What do you do for work in Karachi? 

I work as a security guard, the work is easy to find, but the pay is very low. When I first started working as a guard in 2003, my salary was 12,000 rupees a month, and it used to be enough for me. Now, my salary is 24,000 rupees a month but it isn’t enough for my children and my wife and I, especially since school fees have increased. I have two sons, a 5 year old and an 8 year old, so paying their school fees takes a huge chunk out of the monthly earnings and barely leaves us with enough for anything else. 


Do you have plans to work anywhere else or do something of your own? 

I want to open my own grocery store, just a small one as rent is very high, but it will be better for my family. As a security guard, I leave home just as my children are leaving for school, and I don’t come back home till 11 or 10 at night when they are fast asleep. I hardly get to spend time with my wife or children, which is very difficult as a father. I want to be there for my children especially as they are growing up. 


What places did you travel through before arriving at your current location? 

We took the safest route we could, which was all barren land. We had to travel by foot, and we traveled as a large group with other people who wanted to come to Karachi, so that meant having young children and the elderly with us, too. We weren’t able to bring anything along, and only carried a change of clothes and as much water and food as we could. All our other belongings and whatever animals we had at the farm were left behind. It took around two days to arrive at Dera Ismail, and from there we were able to take cars the rest of the way to Karachi.


Do you want to build a life here, return to FATA, or travel further to another destination? 

Everyone wants to go back to the village, as life was more peaceful there and far simpler, but there are things that Karachi offers that Waziristan didn’t and won’t be able to for a long time. I remember when any one of us would get sick, we wouldn’t be able to go to the hospital as the nearest one was 60-65 kilometers away, and we didn’t have access to any cars. There were small family doctors in clinics around the village, but they weren’t very good. There were also only one or two small public schools in my village before the war, which weren’t as good as the ones in Karachi, but in Karachi the schools are also much more expensive. It’s almost like you’re buying the quality of your education, and if you can’t afford to spend thousands on your children every month, they won’t receive a worthwhile education. The Army Public School only recently opened in Waziristan in 2016. I would like to go back as I have land there, but that’s the only thing left for me in FATA. My family had their businesses there, and we had our farm where we would grow potatoes and wheat during the summer and sold them during the winter and used our goats and cows for milk and meat, but we lost that all in the war. Maybe I will go back once things are more peaceful and we [my wife and children] have a guarantee for our safety and once we grow tired of Karachi, but as for now we can’t lose the facilities provided to us here such as the schools and the hospitals. 


What was it like growing up in FATA? Tell us some good childhood memories. Is there anything you miss about your village that you cannot find here in Karachi? 

There is a lot I miss about my village, mainly the simple things. It used to be very cold there, but I prefer that over Karachi’s stifling heat. I remember we would all have to heat water up over the stove for Fajr because it was so cold it was impossible to perform Wudu with such cold water, but in Karachi we don’t even have gas to cook let alone heat up water. Another thing you won’t find anywhere in Karachi is the clean and fresh air. In my village, we didn’t have as many people or factories or cars as Karachi does, so obviously the air would be thicker and more polluted here, and even the food isn’t as clean and pure. I miss the atmosphere and how calm life was in the village before the war. We would go to sleep early and wake up early, before the Azan, and then make our prayers and go out to the farm to tend to the animals and crops. The culture in Karachi is very different from Waziristan, and it’s not any worse or better, but I do miss all our culture and traditions back home. 


When did the trouble start in your village? What was the trouble? Describe the issues that slowly caused people to start leaving the village. 

The troubles started around 2000, and we left for Karachi when things had just started taking a turn for the worse.. I was scared for my life, everyone was. There were a lot of clashes between the army and the Taliban, with gunfire from both sides. People started leaving from 2000 till 2010, which is when things weren’t as violent anymore. People were hurt, forced to leave their homes in odd hours of the night with no prior warning, and even killed. It wasn’t safe for anyone, so many people tried getting away, even if they had to leave everything behind and had no one or no place to go to in Karachi. We had no other option. 


What are the circumstances that prevent you from going back? 

We have nothing left over there, and we have access to better facilities here such as schools and hospitals. It’s also safer in Karachi than it is in the village, even though things started getting better in 2016. We are all still very scared and think it’s too soon to go back. I am especially afraid for my children. I have seen and been through things that people could never imagine and I don’t want to risk putting my children through that or putting them in danger. We are all safe here, my children are studying here and my wife and i have found work here. We have no reason to go back except for the land we have left in the village. 


If you have younger siblings or children, how do their childhoods compare to yours? What kind of life do you want your siblings or children to have? 

My three brothers and three sisters all came to Karachi at the same time with the rest of the family, so they unfortunately had to go through the same thing every person in the village did. My children, however, were born in Karachi and have never experienced anything like the war. They have simple lives and are safe, and I want them to continue living that way, away from all the horrible things my siblings and I have experienced. 


Do you have family in FATA? 

My uncles from my mother’s side currently live in FATA. They left at the same time as us, but went back after 2016. They used to rent a home in Dera Ismail Khan, which ended up being very costly, so they went back to the village to rebuild their own homes for their families. They come to visit Dera Ismail in the summer, but go back to the village in winter. We haven’t met in a few years, but we occasionally speak over the phone. 


What do their everyday lives look like, compared to yours? 

They tell me they are happy in the village, but that nothing is certain and that they might have to move back to Karachi again in the future. They have their businesses and land there, which they manage in their own time. They have much more time to spend with their families than I do, as I have to work a job and don’t have flexible timings. 


Interview 2 

Where are you from? Where did you grow up? 

My family has lived in the Ladha area of Waziristan since I can remember – I was born and raised there with my two brothers and my father. Our mother had passed away after the birth of my second brother but my father worked as a salesman there so we were able to support ourselves and my younger brother even joined him when he was old enough to work. 


Where are you now?/ What is your occupation? 

I have lived in Lahore since 2011, after my father fell ill and we needed more money to pay for his treatments. As a result, we all came to the city together, where my son and I began looking for work. Eventually, I started providing a rickshaw service for the local people in our area, but that wasn’t nearly enough to support the entire family (my father’s medical bills taking up most of the costs). I cannot remember when exactly, but at some point we were forced to approach banks for loans but were not granted much due to the fact that my father’s business had been shut down after the move to Lahore and my son had been unable to find steady employment. Our last resort was to approach Ms. [Redacted] who works with the organisation that helped us find a secure residence here for a low cost and even began funding anonymously to help us pay my father’s bills. There are many other families [from FATA] here too and it is very comforting to have people from the community to support me and my family. 


Do you have plans to work anywhere else or do something of your own? 

When I was a young child, I used to help my father grow the fruits he then sold – at that point, he ran a small stall in the centre of our town where tourists used to visit quite frequently. I remember the taste of the oranges and figs we grew: there is no comparison between the kind we ate growing up and the ones we eat here now. He used to know exactly how to water the saplings so they grew just right and everyone in our village said there was nothing like enjoying Aba’s fruits in the cold mornings of winter time. Those are my fondest memories from growing up, and I plan to save up enough money to buy a plot of land to cultivate an orchard on, and then set up a fruit stall in the future. I want to recreate the moments I shared with my father with my son, teaching him the growing techniques I too learned while we re-establish our new lives here. 


What places did you travel through before arriving at your current location? 

We left Ladha around two years after the war. At that point, there were barely any functional hospitals, with all the available doctors working at full capacity and all the equipment being too outdated for any substantial medical assistance. We had been relying on our local nurses in the neighbourhood, but once my father’s health began deteriorating to a point where even their efforts were not enough, my elder brother arranged for us to travel to Lahore. At that point, we forsake all our property and travelled by foot to the nearest land border. My wife and our son were the youngest in the group, and so the travel was often delayed to allow them periods of rest. All we had with us were our clothes, our savings (which we stuffed into our saddlebags under a layer of coats) and some food and water to sustain us throughout the trip. It took about three days of journeying before we were able to take a train ride into Islamabad and from there into Lahore. My brother had arranged for us to stay in a hostel for one night on the edge of the city, but after that we moved into a communal residence from which we began searching for work. 


Do you want to build a life here, return to FATA, or travel further to another destination? 

There are moments where my father especially misses the life we had before. Before the war broke out, Ladha was a beautiful area with lush fields during the summer months that we used to play in whenever the weather allowed us to. I remember my brothers and I drank water from the springs because everyone believed it had healing properties that bolstered your immunity. 

Yet, while it was an adjustment at first, my family and I have assimilated quite well into Lahore these past few years. The organisation that helped us find work and shelter has been very insightful in terms of connections and support in our time here. And Lahore offers things we never could have dreamed of in our time in Ladha – for instance, my son has the chance to attend a proper government college now, unlike back home where the closest primary school was around 40 kilometres away, and college was out of the question altogether unless you had the money to afford it. Even then, the standard of education in Waziristan was nothing compared to what my son is now receiving. He is surpassing me in his mathematics, a subject I considered my strongest back in the day. The expense is still higher in Lahore compared to Waziristan, but my work allows me to provide to a significant extent, and my son is also on merit scholarship. All in all, I would say that while there are aspects of Waziristan my family and I miss, the life we have is much better than what we would have had there. There is nothing waiting for us there anymore as even our land has probably been overtaken by the army at this point.


What was it like growing up in FATA? Tell us some good childhood memories. Is there anything you miss about your village that you cannot find here in Lahore? 

Growing up in FATA was unique and different from Lahore. It was a place where the tribal culture was deeply ingrained, and the values and traditions were passed down from generation to generation. We always had a strong sense of community growing up. I remember the children would gather on Fridays to read Jummah prayer with the adults in the open fields and occasionally the elders would keep their stalls open late at night to engage in barters for their friends or family. The bonds of the people were nothing like the ones in the communities of Lahore – we were bonded by something beyond blood and even your neighbour on the other side of the village would be willing to help you in times of distress. When my father first began to show symptoms of his illness, our uncle would walk for an hour and a half every morning to help us at the fruit stand while my wife stayed home to look after my father. I miss the sense of pride we had in our people and the level of trust we developed amongst each other – that is hard to find in a city that feels so alien from the one you grew up in. Still, the people we have met in our compound have made the assimilation process much easier, and some even have ties to people we used to know in our old village. While we have been out of contact with our friends there for many years, it is a peaceful thought to know that their descendants and relatives survive them with us in this city! 


When did the trouble start in your village? What was the trouble? Describe the issues that slowly caused people to start leaving the village. 

We resided in the centre of the city so for us the troubles started early, around January of 2001, and then got especially bad when the army offensives began in 2009. We stayed in Waziristan for as long as we could, with my father unwilling to leave behind the land our ancestors had lived on for centuries. While the gunfire was a constant in our lives, I think everyone in the village truly felt the reality of the situation when the drone strikes began. There was an entire section just 100 kilometres away from our home that was left destroyed after an offensive. It was at that point that we seriously considered leaving. Many of our other family members had already began the migration to other parts of Pakistan but Aba’s health was a stalling factor for us. It was only in 2011 when he was well enough that we attempted the trip. We were very lucky that his resilience held up in times of such hardship, but more than that, I think it was the faith we had that we would eventually reach safety which got us through the never-ending sounds of cries and destruction that followed us on the way out of Waziristan. 


What are the circumstances that prevent you from going back? 

As I have said before, we have a good life here in Lahore and there is no reason for us to go back to Ladha. The facilities here are far better and life is easier now that we have a more stable supply of income. But most importantly, now that my son is going to be married, I want to be able to ensure his family has a safe, fulfilling life that would not be possible back in Waziristan. 


If you have younger siblings or children, how do their childhoods compare to yours? What kind of life do you want your siblings or children to have? 

My two brothers and son all came to Lahore at the same time in 2011 when they were old enough to work. They had already been witness to the war in their lifetimes, but I hope my son’s future children who will be born in Lahore will be away from the fighting and will grow up far happier as a result.


Do you have family in FATA? 

No, we all came to live in Lahore together (my uncle was the only member of my extended family currently alive, and his family moved alongside ours). 


Have things changed in FATA since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan? 

While I have not returned to Ladha in years and have lost contact with the people back home, from the news I read I believe life is returning to the war-torn time we left in. Now that the insurgency has returned, I see the protests on the streets restarting as they did back when we still resided there. All we can really do now is pray for our community and our brothers and sisters in Waziristan. I hope one day the situation is stable enough that I can bring my grandchildren there and show them the beauty of the town I grew up in. 


Interview 3 

Where are you from? Where did you grow up? 

I was born in the town of Mirali in North Waziristan and lived there until January of 2008. I left for Islamabad when I was 17 with my elder sister, her daughter and her husband, so I spent my childhood mostly in Waziristan. 

Where are you now? 

When we came to Islamabad, I lived with my sister and her family before finding a job as a local salesman in a clothing factory. When I was 24, I met my wife who also worked in the same factory and we began living together in a small house on the outskirts of the city which is where we are now. 


What do you do for work? 

Back in Waziristan, I was studying in a small, locally funded school but I had to give up on my education when we fled to Islamabad in order to make enough money to support myself and unburden my family. I was very fortunate in being able to find work thanks to my brother in law who got me an interview at the factory I now work at. Since I do not have a degree, I work in the production sector, spinning and threading textiles. Initially, my wife and I could cover the costs of living as both of us were working, but now that she is expecting, she had to take time off of work and I have had to cover more shifts to provide for us. As of recently, we have also set up a savings account to make sure we have some stability for our future child. I have high hopes for the future and plan to make use of this money to even invest in some land later on for us to work off of! 


What places did you travel through before arriving at your current location? 

We were forced to abandon our home, our animals and our parents when the soldiers ambushed our village. There were insurgents who had engaged in abductions in the town as well, which is why everyone was on edge and fearing for their safety. My parents and my sister were especially worried for my niece and I. They started making plans to transport us out of the district and live with my uncle in South Waziristan, but eventually the raids began occurring there as well and even that became an infeasible option. By that point, schools had been shut down and my father’s business as a carpenter was stalled as well because of the security threats. We were falling asleep to the sounds of gunshots and everyday the threat of a raid loomed over our heads. In fact, the day before we left for Islamabad, we received news of our neighbour who had been shot in the leg fleeing from army officials who destroyed his house and drove his family out of the city. That was the final straw. The next day, my parents sent my sister and I off on our way with plans to meet up with us later in Islamabad when their business affairs had been sorted. We traveled for two days, taking breaks only to sleep with one of us always awake in shifts to keep guard. We had travelled with a group of about 15 other people from the village, and it was only through collective efforts that we survived the conditions of the journey. Particularly, walking through the rugged valleys was taxing, especially on the children and the elderly. I am grateful that we were able to reach the border safely and take a series of buses into Islamabad – it was like seeing a heavenly light at the end of a dark tunnel. 


Do you want to build a life here, return to FATA, or travel further to another destination? 

There are many traumatic memories I have from the events we witnessed in FATA. I spent many of my nights in Islamabad tossing and turning because of nightmares – visions of my parents getting shot or my sister abducted plagued me constantly. Even the fonder memories I have of growing up there, playing in the rivers and picking 

apricots from the orchards, are stained by the thoughts of the drones circling overhead. In comparison, the life I have here in Islamabad is much safer and secure. However, recently the bomb blast that took place caused many horrifying memories to resurface and my family and I have been forced to contemplate relocation once more. While we would never have considered moving anywhere else before, the new instability is forcing us to reconsider. 


What was it like growing up in FATA? Tell us some good childhood memories. Is there anything you miss about your village that you cannot find here? 

I think I miss the simpler life in Waziristan most. Unlike Islamabad, where the bustling streets seem to be a constant companion, life in the village was freer and calmer. There were hardly any cars on the roads to honk at odds hours of the night, and you could stare up for hours at the stars in the sky without streetlights clouding your vision. Similarly, the air pollution in Islamabad is something no one in our family is accustomed to – back home, the air was crisp and clean, and free of the dust that seems to follow us around in Islamabad. Particularly, working in a factory compared to roaming the fields in Mirali can be very stifling and hard to endure at times. But even more than that, there was a sense of camaraderie that we had just from playing with the animals on the farms or going picking for figs when they were in season. There was a bond that could not be broken and each of us felt it. 


When did the trouble start in your village? What was the trouble? Describe the issues that slowly caused people to start leaving the village. 

The 2007 attacks that started led to the deaths and injuries of many in my village. Initially, there were reports of violence along the borders of the smaller towns in FATA but slowly the insurgents gained more confidence and began infiltrating some of the larger cities. We watched homes and farms go up in flames and hundreds of our friends be displaced out into Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Any aid that was sent was never received by the smaller villages and many of us had to resort to turning to local nurses for help treating those who were injured. It was at this point that my parents had planned to send us to Islamabad and join us about a week after our departure. However, when we arrived in the city the attacks grew in severity and frequency, making it difficult for my parents to leave safely. They decided to stay with my uncle and have been living with them since.


If you have younger siblings or children, how do their childhoods compare to yours? What kind of life do you want your siblings or children to have? 

Since the troubles in Waziristan began in my teen years, I was fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a peaceful childhood – when I was very young, my friends and I would skip stones in the small rivers formed in the valleys and swim when the weather was warm enough. With our first child on the way, I do regret him/her being unable to experience such things. However, I think there are facilities in Islamabad that Waziristan could never provide. The education is far better and my wife and I plan to enroll our child in one of the public schools available here. I want our child to not struggle the way I did from my lack of degree and be able to expand their opportunities in life. 


Do you have family in FATA? 

My parents and relatives are still back home in Mirali. While I miss them dearly, it is difficult to remain in contact with them due to the lack of cell service in the district. Sometimes electricity only works for 2-3 hours at a time so it is hard to find times when they are able to pick up the phone. 


The interviews conducted over a six-month period brought forth a tapestry of untold stories and unspoken truths, weaving together the resilience and strength of the Afghan refugees amidst their harrowing experiences. These accounts revealed the profound impact of military hegemony on their lives and the immense vitality of their narratives. As the study unfolded, it became evident that behind the statistics and numbers lay individuals who had endured unimaginable hardships. The stories echoed with tales of loss, but also of hope and determination. They painted a vivid picture of the human spirit, unyielding in the face of adversity. The interviewees shared their journey of fleeing her war-torn homeland with their families. Their words resonated with a mixture of pain and resilience as she recounted the loss of their possessions, the separation from loved ones, and the constant fear that haunted their every step. Yet, despite the challenges, they spoke of their dreams for a brighter future, fueled by their unwavering hope and determination. 

They also revealed the psychological toll inflicted by the traumatic experiences endured during the conflict. Speaking of the prevalence of PTSD among the refugee community, they highlighted the urgent need for mental health support and counseling services. Their stories underscored the hidden scars that accompany 

displacement, emphasizing the importance of addressing the unseen wounds inflicted by war. The interviews also shed light on the diverse ethnic backgrounds of the refugees. Through the accounts of individuals above, the richness of their cultures and traditions came to life. These stories emphasized the importance of recognizing and honoring the unique identities and struggles of each ethnic group, fostering an environment of inclusivity and understanding. 

Armed with these firsthand narratives, the study served as a catalyst for change. We are currently in the process of showing the findings to the local and international governments, urging them to acknowledge the urgency of the Afghan refugee crisis and the need for a coordinated response. We are trying to move the international and local community by the powerful accounts shared in the study. Comprehensive plans are set in motion, aiming to address the immediate needs of the refugees while also tackling the underlying causes of their displacement. Sustainable solutions are prioritized, ensuring that the rights, well-being, and dignity of the refugees are safeguarded. 

Firstly, education initiatives should flourish, with a renewed focus on providing quality schooling and vocational training to refugee children and adults. By investing in their education, we empower them to become agents of change, equipped with the skills and knowledge to rebuild their lives and contribute to their communities. Secondly, mental health programs should be implemented, recognizing the deep emotional scars left by the traumas of conflict and displacement. Alongside, accessible and culturally sensitive support services should be offered to the refugees, fostering healing, resilience, and a renewed sense of hope. Solidarity is the cornerstone of this global effort, as we continue to work hand in hand to address the immediate needs of the refugees and create long-term solutions for their safe and dignified return to their homeland, should they choose to do so. 

While challenges remain, the world remains resolute in its commitment to the refugees. We understand that true change takes time, patience, and sustained effort. The journey to resolution is ongoing, but the progress made so far is a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the power of collective action. As the chapters of this story continue to unfold, the world remains steadfast in its pursuit of a brighter future for the Afghan refugees. With empathy, compassion, and unwavering determination, we pave the way for a world where the displaced find solace, the vulnerable find protection, and all people can live in peace and prosperity. Together, we create a future where the Afghan refugee crisis is no longer a crisis, but a chapter of resilience, healing, and hope. 




  1. Taliban’s Rise to Power and History: From BBC’s ‘Who are the Taliban’ 

  1. Forced Migration Review’s ‘Afghanistan: conflict and displacement 1978 to 


  1. BBC’s ‘Afghanistan: How many refugees are there and where will they 


  1. From OCHA’s ‘Refugees Living a Nightmare in Northern 


  1. From the UN News ‘Pakistan: UN warns nearly 13,000 families displaced near Afghan border, many more could follow’ es-displaced-near-afghan-border-many-more 
  2. Context of FATA: From ‘Modern History of Federally Administered Tribal 

Areas’ 4624-807b-c89f688b81fe 

  1. United States Institute of Peace Special Report: ‘Mainstreaming Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas: Reform Initiatives and Roadblocks’ 


  1. De-personalisation and De-realisation: From OCHA’s ‘Refugees Living a Nightmare in Northern Pakistan’
  2. World Bank’s ‘International Labor Mobility of Nationals: Experience and evidence for Afghanistan at macro level’ 

-Labor-Mobility-of-Nationals-Experience-and-Evidence-for-Afghanistan-at-the-Macro-L evel.pdf