Afghan refugees living in Iran and Pakistan continue to face an uncertain future, and the upcoming parliamentary election on October 20 doesn’t seem to solve any of their problems. As these refugees are not allowed to vote in the polls, they feel they will have no influence over the legislators in the next parliament. There is little incentive for these people to return to their homeland. A lack of security in Afghanistan and Kabul’s reluctance to support them hinder their return. Authorities in Islamabad and Tehran urge the Afghan government to take back refugees, as they consider them a burden on their economy. But many of these refugees have been living in the neighboring countries for decades and despite various problems in the host nations, Iran and Pakistan are still a better option for them.
“The government should make sure that we can build our lives if we return to Afghanistan. They should also make sure that we feel part of Afghan society,” Malik Matiullah, a Pakistan-based Afghan, told DW.
“And for that we need a government that is willing to work for us and pass legislation that will protect our interests,” he added.
According to the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, over 6 million Afghans live abroad, with a vast majority of them residing in Iran and Pakistan.