Refugees Want Education Over Water, Food

In the late 1970s, Pakistan welcomed Afghan refugees with open arms, but attitudes towards the immigrants soured after 9/11. Various deadlines for their expulsion were set, though not enforced. It wasn’t until 2015 that hard timelines were established and authorities began to follow through.

At one point in time, there were an estimated 3 million Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan. Since the expulsion edict, those men, women, and children have been flooding back across the border and settling in eastern Afghanistan provinces like Nangarhar, Khost, and Kunar.

CAI Afghan partner Wakil Karimi reports that in recent weeks heavy snowfall and mounting political tension between the countries have slowed traffic moving across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Good weather is expected to bring a resurgence of activity.

 The district governor of Bati Kot, a territory close to the border, says his people want education more than anything but have no money, no facilities, and no supplies. Returning individuals have grown accustomed to having education from their time Pakistan and he fears that if they go two or three years with no schooling they will not opt to reenroll even if the opportunity is presented. He reiterated to Wakil that the need for assistance is urgent and despite all the challenges – though they do not have food or clean water – what these refugees desire most in the world is education for their children.