Afghanistan Emigration and Immigration

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Afghanistan Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
Afghanistan Background
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Online Records[edit | edit source]

Finding the Town of Origin in Afghanistan[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Afghanistan, see Afghanistan Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Afghanistan Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country.
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.

Emigration From Afghanistan[edit | edit source]

  • Afghan refugees fled their country throughout the 20th century, especially to nearby Pakistan, India and Iran.
  • Since 1980, over half a million Afghans migrated to Europe (many to Great Britain and Germany), while a quarter a million went to North America (the U.S. and Canada), and less than 50,000 settled in Australia.
  • There are around 25,000 people of Afghan descent living in Hamburg alone.
  • Some deny Afghan as being considered an ethnicity and consider only Pashtuns from Pakistan and Afghanistan to be Afghans as opposed to non-Pashtuns in Afghanistan.
  • In the old definition of Afghan, it refers to just Pashtun people, and can especially imply Muslim communities in the Indian subcontinent, (and those that migrated into the Caribbean region). [1]
  • The Soviet war of Afghanistan in the 1980s marks the first wave of internal displacement and refugee flow from Afghanistan to neighboring Iran and Pakistan that began providing shelter to Afghan refugees.
  • When the Soviet war ended in 1989, these refugees started to return to their homeland. In 1992, a major civil war began after the mujahideen took over control of Kabul and the other major cities. Afghans again fled to neighboring countries, including Europe and India.
  • A total of 6.3 million Afghan refugees were hosted in Iran and Pakistan by 1990.The majority of Afghan refugees (95%) are located in Iran and Pakistan.
  • Ethnic minorities, like Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, often fled to India.
  • After the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001, over 5 million Afghans were repatriated through the UNHCR from Pakistan and Iran to Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans began returning to Afghanistan in recent years.[2]

Pakistan[edit | edit source]

  • Pakistan has been home to over a million refugees for 40 years. 1.5 million officially registered Afghan refugees were reported to be living in Pakistan in addition to approximately 1 million more unregistered refugees.
  • Recently however, due to security concerns as well as increasing political tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, there has been an influx of refugees returning to Afghanistan. According to the Human Rights Watch, in 2016 there were about 365,000 documented and 200,000 undocumented Afghan refugees repatriated from Pakistan.[2]

Iran[edit | edit source]

According to The World Factbook, in 2015 there were about 1 million registered and between 1.5 and 2.0 million undocumented refugees in Iran. The majority of these refugees were born in Iran during the last three and a half decades, however they are still considered citizens of Afghanistan.[2]

Records of AfghaniEmigrants in Their Destination Nations[edit | edit source]

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for records about the ancestor in the country of destination, the country they immigrated into. See links to Wiki articles about immigration records for major destination countries below. Additional Wiki articles for other destinations can be found at Category:Emigration and Immigration Records.

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

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References[edit | edit source]

  1. "List of diasporas", in Wikipedia,, accessed 10 Jun 2021.
  2. "Afghan refugees", in Wikipedia,, accessed 10 Juy 2021.