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Afghani Refugees
After 25 years of continuous warfare, refugees find peace

Afghani children
These three Afghani children were born and raised in a refugee camp on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. 
Afghanistan is a landlocked country located in southern Asia. It has over 30 million people and a wide variety of ethnic groups, including Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, and Uzbeck, as well as other small minority groups. Over 80% of the people are Sunni Muslims, but there is also a number of Shi’a Muslims. Dari (or Farsi) and Pashto are the official languages, but other Turkic languages are spoken as well.

Afghanistan’s history contains much conflict. The country was a monarchy until 1973 when it was overthrown by a military coup. This military rule was overturned by rebel troops in 1979, and later that year the country was invaded by the Soviet Union, which spawned a ten-year war. The Soviet occupation forced over 5 million people to leave the country, seeking refuge in nearby countries. After the Soviets left, the country still suffered from power struggles between the multiple factions within the country. The Islamic Taliban movement took control of the government in 1996. The Taliban restricted the freedoms of the people and violated a number of human rights. In 2001, the U.S. toppled the Taliban. In 2004, a democratic government was formed, holding the country’s first elections.

Resettled Afghan mother and child
This Afghani child was born 2 weeks after his mother, who is holding him, arrived in the Capital Area.
Despite the newly formed democracy, life in Afghanistan remains difficult for its people. It is estimated that nearly 1.5 million people are currently suffering from immediate starvation. An estimated 7.5 million people are suffering due to the combination of the civil war, the U.S. led invasion, the Taliban’s oppressive regime and the drought related famine. The Taliban is regaining strength in the rural southern region where fighting continues. Illegal opium production within the country continues and economy remains unstable, making Afghanistan one of the poorest and undeveloped countries in the world.

Many of the refugees that left during the Soviet occupation are returning to Afghanistan to attempt to rebuild their lives. There are still many people whose homes and lives have been destroyed and may not be able to return. Some are choosing to rebuild their lives in other countries, such as the United States.

In the Capital Region, USCRI assists when new refugees arrive. It can be very difficult to adjust to a new way of life, especially after experiencing so much hardship. Lack of English language skills make it difficult to meet people and find jobs. USCRI is trying to integrate these new refugees into the Capital Region community, but we cannot do that without the community support. If you would like to help welcome these new Afghan refugees to the community, please contact the Preferred Communities Program at USCRI at 518 459 1790.

 

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USCRI Albany
10 Russell Road
Albany, New York 12206

Telephone: (518) 459-1790
Fax: (518) 459-1876