chapter  11
Internal displacement in Afghanistan
The tip of the iceberg
BySusanne Schmeidl
Pages 19

This chapter outlines that as many as 5.5 million Afghans have moved (or are moving) within their own country, living in displacement-like situations, but are neither counted nor adequately assisted. History suggests that ignoring the body of an iceberg under water leads to disaster, as the infamous story of the Titanic so memorable shows. Many studies argue that unlike past displacement phases that were predominantly concentrated outside Afghanistan, Afghanistan's displacement future lies with internal displacement. The internal mobility trend in Afghanistan is rural to urban, with IDPs, refugee returnees and other migrants gravitating towards the bigger cities for better security, access to services and livelihoods. Afghanistan's human development ranks well below the average of all low human development countries and last in its own region of South Asia. Unless genuine programmes addressing Afghanistan's mobility iceberg are devised, there is the potential that another layer of conflict may be added to existing instability.