New Goals, New Challenges
Facing a fragile peace and a society torn apart by war, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has much still to do in Afghanistan. The agency's main focus in Afghanistan in 2013 is the voluntary return and reintegration of Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons back to their home country.
More than 5.7 million -- 4.6 million of them with UNHCR assistance -- have returned home since the fall of the Taliban regime, the largest voluntary repatriation organized by UNHCR in the last 10 years.
In 2008, some 278,500 former Afghan refugees returned to their country, by far the largest voluntary refugee return movement anywhere in the world at that time.
But the journey home is just the beginning. Once inside Afghanistan, families face the daunting prospect of having to rebuild not just their lives, but also their country's future.
Shelter and clean water are significant concerns for returning refugee families.
In addition, over the past several years, more than 9,000 water points were completed under UNHCR’s water program in high or potential return areas as well as those hit by drought, benefiting and estimated 1.5 million Afghans.
Many refugees are facing other reintegration difficulties, including a lack of land, and basic services such as health care and education. Job opportunities are also scarce.
More than 28,000 returnees this year are living in five spontaneous settlements in eastern Afghanistan, unable to return to their place of origin due to insecurity, landlessness, tribal conflicts, personal enmity or lack of livelihood possibilities.
UNHCR is trying to conduct confidence-building measures to promote peaceful inter-ethnic co-existence, in order to establish an end to ethnically-targeted violence. Training workshops focused on promoting gender awareness are another essential aspect of UNHCR's protection of Afghan refugees.
USA for UNHCR is calling on you to support humanitarian relief efforts in Afghanistan. Help us rebuild refugee lives.
Inspired by a 2007 trip to Afghanistan with the UNHCR, best-selling author Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns) founded The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Since then, his foundation has raised over $500,000, constructing hundreds of shelters for Afghanis and providing homes for thousands of people returning to their country after years of displacement. As a UNHCR Goodwill Envoy, Khaled returned to Afghanistan with the UNHCR in 2009.
About the Khaled Hosseini Foundation:
The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. The Foundation supports UNHCR projects which provide shelter to refugee families and economic and education opportunities and healthcare for women and children. In addition, the Foundation awards scholarships to students who have migrated to the United States under refugee status and to women pursuing higher education in Afghanistan.