The Impact and Legacy of the Afghan Refugees in Pakistan
Over 14 years of war in Afghanistan, Pakistan carried the major responsibility for absorbing the conflict's refugees. By the time of the collapse of the Kabul regime and the installation of a government by the Afghan resistance parties in May 1992, the repatriation process was well underway. Barring renewed large-scale fighting in a protracted Afghan civil war, the probability was that most of the refugees sheltered in Pakistan would eventually return to their homeland. Afghan migration into Pakistan was not entirely a new phenomenon or one necessarily related to the fighting. Even before the Soviet invasion, it is estimated that normally about 75,000 Afghans crossed the border yearly. Refugees were accused of involvement in international drug trafficking. Until the collapse of the Kabul government, the Pakistan government could not be sure that it might not be forced to reconcile its adherence to the principle of voluntary repatriation with domestic demands that the refugees leave.