An estimated 5.7 million refugees returned to Afghanistan over the past decade, with most focusing their rehabilitation around Kabul, the World Bank said on Monday.
“While an estimated 5.7 million refugees have returned to Afghanistan in the past decade (the largest refugee repatriation effort in the world), large numbers remain forcibly displaced,” the Bank said in a report released on Monday.Returning migrants are increasingly avoiding rural areas of their origins and moving to urban areas, especially Kabul, in search of security and livelihoods.“Effective reintegration and sustainable economic engagement will depend on whether political settlements can be reached with all stakeholders, ensuring the delivery of public services, and generating economic opportunities,” the report said.It said more than 35 years of the conflict had left millions of Afghans forcibly displaced, with the UNHCR identifying 3.6 million as the total population of concern in 2014.Refugees comprise the largest category, followed by internally displaced persons. Afghanistan is the second-largest source country for refugees in the world, and people fleeing conflict in Afghanistan have made Pakistan and Iran the largest refugee-hosting countries in the world, the bank said.The departure of external military personnel in 2014 may signal progress towards a key political and economic transition, but many challenges remain, the report said.The bank said Palestinian refugees continue to comprise the biggest refugee group worldwide. The other major source countries for refugees in 2013 were Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic.Syria, Colombia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan have the largest numbers of IDPs. In 2014, further displacements are expected, including those affected by conflicts in Iraq and Ukraine.