Afghan Migration and Pakistan’s Policy Response: Dynamics of Continuity and Change

  • Anwesha Ghosh


When Afghans started fleeing abroad in the aftermath of the Saur Revolution of April 1978, Afghanistan’s immediate neighbour Pakistan became one of the main destinations. Since the 1980s, millions of Afghans have sought refuge in Pakistan due to factors ranging from geographical proximity to ethnic ties, religious affiliations, and pre-established trans-regional networks. This contribution attempts to provide insights into one of the most significant aspects of Afghanistan–Pakistan relations: cross-border population movement. Acknowledging that regional movement and return have ebbed and flowed for generations, this study will begin by looking at the context of Afghan migration and identify four major waves of population movement between Afghanistan and Pakistan since the Soviet intervention, in 1979. Subsequently, an attempt will be made to look at the continuities and changes in Pakistan’s policy response to the Afghan refugees over the years and to identify the major factors that might have influenced the policy shifts of the host government. To conclude, it will be assessed if the Afghan refugees have been an asset or a liability for Pakistan.


Afghanistan Pakistan Migration Afghan refugee Policy responses 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anwesha Ghosh
    • 1
  1. 1.Willy Brandt School of Public PolicyUniversity of ErfurtErfurtGermany

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