Chronicling the Flows of the Afghan Refugee Crises: A Historical Approach
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Chronicling the Flows of the Afghan Refugee Crises: A Historical Approach


Afghanistan’s development has been the antithesis of progress. A nation whose borders were forged by the great powers of its time, Great Britain and Russia, without regard for the intricacies of the country. Decades of internal ethnic and religious conflict stemmed from the arbitrary construction of its borders and was furthered by political chaos and dynastic rivalries, which built a fragile state dependent on foreign aid and resources. The state's vulnerabilities encouraged foreign influence and embittered tensions between rural people absent from the nation's political future. The historical approach of this thesis contextualizes the ongoing and cyclical disruptions in the socio-political evolution of Afghanistan. Evaluating the most volatile periods of Afghanistan’s contemporary history, beginning with the invasion of the Soviet Union to the most recent withdrawal of the United States, reveals the nearly 50 years of chaos and destruction in Afghanistan. These struggles and histories deconstruct the baseline of Afghanistan’s instability. The deprave conditions of warfare have pushed millions of Afghans out of Afghanistan, with each invasion and cycle of political upheaval contributing to a pattern of displacement. Yet, the apparent pattern of Afghan departure at the height of each period of instability has not garnered the proper response and support from the international refugee system or its donor states, of which the United States is the most significant. History and data are the primary methodological tools of this thesis. History provides context, and data provides insights demonstrating the gaps in the international refugee system. The gaps stem from inappropriate responses, lack of funding and preparation in foreshadowing future refugee crises, poor infrastructure, low donor state support, and general ignorance by influential states. These factors contribute to the ongoing Afghan refugee crisis, revealing the issue's depth and the magnitude of international political reformation required to rectify and aid the millions of Afghan refugees hoping for a better future.

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