America's Afghan Refugee Crisis
After 50 plus years, the United States has caused more harm than good in Afghanistan. By accepting responsibility for the refugee crisis, it can begin to reverse this trend.
The humanitarian catastrophe that has brought more than a million refugees to Europe over the past year is not just a European crisis. The American public has remained detached from this tragedy, assured that it is some other nation’s problem but ignorant of the tangled origins of the calamity. The case of the Afghans, one of the world’s largest refugee communities and the second-largest group – behind Syrians – to arrive in Europe recently, should serve as a reminder that the origins of today’s predicament are neither recent nor confined to the refugees’ home countries.
Since the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001, repatriation efforts allowed nearly six million Afghans who fled revolution and foreign intervention in the late 1970s and early 1980s to return to their country. However, insecurity forced many to leave again. Approximately 2.5 million Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan, and over a million continue to reside in Iran. Over the past two years, the withdrawal of most U.S. and NATO forces and many international organizations, together with the growing strength of insurgent groups, has prompted another desperate wave of emigration....