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Tajikistan: Afghan Refugees in Limbo, Adapt to Staying Put

Nelofar Moradat, who studied computer science in Kabul, was forced to flee Afghanistan and now works in a beauty parlor in Vakhdat after she received vocational training provided by UNHCR. Her income is barely enough to support her family. (Photo: Jeremie Berlioux)

The surge of refugee crises across the globe is dampening prospects for Afghans stranded in Tajikistan of finding new safe havens any time soon.
 
Roughly 2,200 refugees from Afghanistan live in Tajikistan, and as conditions worsen in their home country, few contemplate returning. At the same time, those hoping to be resettled in a third country by the United Nations are growing used to disappointment.
 
With the latest tally for refugees worldwide at around 20 million, countries admitting newcomers have begun to apply highly selective criteria. “Resettlement isn't a solution that is prioritized for Afghan refugees in Tajikistan. So we do whatever we can to improve local integration where people can live with dignity,” said Kevin Allen, a representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Tajikistan.
 
Cultural and linguistic similarities help Afghans assimilate to some extent, but some barriers are harder to surmount.
 

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Jeremie Berlioux is a French journalist currently based in Kyrgyzstan.

Tajikistan: Afghan Refugees in Limbo, Adapt to Staying Put

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