In Afghanistan there are some 1.3 million people of concern according to the UNHCR, comprising asylum-seekers, refugees, returning refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). The first half of 2011 saw a rapid increase in conflict-induced internal displacement, creating nearly 100,000 new IDPs and bringing the total IDP population to approximately 500,000 people by mid-year.
There are currently an estimated 3,054,709 Afghan citizens living overseas, with the vast majority in Iran (1,019,700) and Pakistan (1,900,000). In Pakistan, the vast majority of refugees live in refugee villages and urban slums, while in Iran around 97 per cent of the refugee population lives in urban areas. Many of these refugees, particularly in Iran, have lived outside their country for 30 years.
Despite more than 5.7 million refugees having returned to Afghanistan since 2002, which increased the population of the country by some 25 per cent, a recent UNHCR survey showed that more than 40 per cent of returnees have not reintegrated into their home communities.
Since 2001, Afghan nationals have comprised only 11.1 per cent of humanitarian visas both through offshore and onshore processing. During the years when the boats essentially stopped, Afghans on average comprised slightly less than one third of the total allotment of offshore recipients.