As the conflict in Afghanistan enters its fourth decade, Afghan civilians continue to be the main victims. Violence has been increasing in intensity and spreading to previously peaceful areas. The gains made in improving health and education are increasingly fragile due to insecurity issues, but also corruption, and the politicization of aid. But more Afghan refugees returned home from Pakistan in 2010 than in the previous year, despite increased insecurity in Afghanistan, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says. Over 104,000 Afghan refugees returned voluntarily in March-October 2010 (mostly for economic factors, the difficult situation in Pakistan and improvements in security in some provinces of Afghanistan), e.g. a significant increase on the same period last year when 54,000 returned. According to UNHCR, 29 percent of returnees from Pakistan in 2010 (over 30,000 people) opted not to return to their original home areas. Of the many refugees who returned after camps were closed in Pakistan over the past few years, about 45,000 sought refuge in informal settlements in the eastern provinces (Nangahar, Laghman, Kunar). But many had no homes of their own there and had become internally displaced persons (IDPs), often living in informal settlements.

The team

Team Leader: Susanne Schmeidl

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