After repeated waves of war and civil conflict sent them fleeing, Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons, or IDPs, continue to return home, and the United States is doing what it can to help.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Simon Henshaw visited Kabul on April 25-27 to review U.S. humanitarian assistance programs and discuss cooperation to assist refugee returnees and internally displaced persons with Afghan, UN and other international and non-governmental organization officials.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Henshaw commended the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for its commitment to assist its displaced persons and pledged continued support for its efforts to reintegrate the nearly six million refugees who have returned to Afghanistan since 2002. He also applauded Afghanistan’s implementation of its Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees, agreed to also by the Governments of Pakistan and Iran, to create the conditions for refugee returns to Afghanistan and incorporate returnee populations into the country’s national development plans.
In meetings with counterparts from various international and Afghan organizations, Mr. Henshaw also discussed U.S.-funded programming, ranging from water and sanitation, to protection and livelihood support for displaced Afghans, and other programs that promote the advancement and protection of vulnerable women and girls, such as efforts to combat gender-based violence, train women in business, and advance basic literacy.
The United States is the leading provider of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. In fiscal year 2014, the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, or PRM, provided $107 million to support Afghan refugees in the region, including their return to Afghanistan. PRM works closely with the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the United Nations Refugee Agency, International Committee for the Red Cross and Red Crescent, International Organization for Migration, and non-governmental organizations to support Afghan conflict victims throughout the region.
“Afghanistan’s future peace and prosperity is tied to the success of its entire people, including those displaced by years of conflict,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Henshaw said. “The return of so many refugees to Afghanistan is a powerful demonstration of confidence in the country’s future.”