Voluntary and Forced Returns to Afghanistan in 2016/17: Trends, statistics and experiences (Thomas Ruttig & Jelena Bjelica, Afghanistan Analysts Network, May 2017)
While hundreds of thousands of Afghans sought protection in Europe throughout 2015/16, an increasing number have been returning to Afghanistan, both voluntarily and involuntarily. The number of voluntary returnees from Europe picked up significantly throughout 2016, with additional returns in the first four months of 2017, reaching a total figure of over 8,000. By contrast, the number of deportations has been significantly lower, at only around 350 over the same period. AAN’s Jelena Bjelica and Thomas Ruttig examine the trends, policies and practices relevant to those who have returned. They found that services available to those returning – in both categories – are patchy.