Flight & Migration

Bundesentwicklungsminister Dr. Gerd Müller


 ‘Mitigating the causes of displacement means investing in development.’

Gerd Müller, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development

Displacement & migration in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the largest countries of origin for refugees fleeing war, persecution and violence. About 2.7 million Afghan refugees are registered around the world, which makes Afghan nationals the third biggest refugee group in the world. The neighbouring countries Pakistan and Iran together host 87 percent of registered Afghan refugees.

Although the overall numbers are much lower in comparison, Afghanistan has also been continuously among the top 10 countries origin for refugees arriving in Germany over the past ten years. Following the peak of about 127,000 Afghans asking for asylum in Germany in 2017, the numbers have fallen to under 10,000 in the following years. Many Afghans have also chosen to migrate and live outside the country, including labour migrants. In addition, about 2.6 million Afghans are currently displaced within their own country.

People are displaced for many reasons. Individuals flee repression and persecution, war and human rights abuses. Their situation forces refugees to abandon their country of origin.

By contrast, unless there are external forces compelling them to do so, migrants take the decision to leave consciously. Particularly young people migrate to improve their living conditions and prospects. A long list of factors including employment, income, reliable water and electricity supply, food, health care and accommodation play a significant role. Other individuals have been forced to flee because of natural disasters; in Afghanistan, these can include extreme events such as floods, landslips, drought and earthquakes that threaten the affected population groups’ livelihoods.

The German government aims to mitigate the reasons for displacement and irregular migration within Afghanistan and to create prospects in the country. It is supporting Afghanistan in combating poverty, improving governance as well as the country’s economic situation, and creating the basis for long-term stability and security. This includes reintegrating those whose applications for asylum have been rejected and providing support for Afghan nationals returning from neighbouring countries and migrants within the country.

While many development and stabilisation projects in the field of governance and economic development contribute to this as part of their overarching goals, Germany also provides humanitarian assistance, stabilisation and development cooperation dedicated specifically to refugees, returnees and internally displaced people. In this context, the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation is an important partner.

As one of the largest donors in Afghanistan, Germany has reconfirmed its commitment to the country at the 2020 Conference on Afghanistan by pledging up to 430 million euros in support for 2021.

To find out more about what the German government is doing around the world to mitigate the causes of displacement and irregular migration, stabilise host regions, support refugees and make use of the opportunities offered by migration, visit the websites of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) .

What has already been achieved?

Since 2009, the German government has invested more than EUR 4.5 billion in civilian cooperation with Afghanistan. The objective is to demonstrate to Afghan citizens that they have prospects within their own country and to support the Afghan authorities in providing appropriate services for the population. Around 22 million Afghan women and men – more than two thirds of the total population – are currently benefiting from projects of the Afghan-German Cooperation.

For more details, please visit the current data overview of the German Cooperation with Afghanistan.

Creating prospects in Afghanistan

Supporting Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees in Afghanistan

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) flee within their own country rather than across national borders. IDPs typically have much poorer access to services than the local population and face shortages of accommodation, food, water, medical care, education and employment. Similar conditions apply to returnees from third countries.

The German government is helping the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations (MoRR) to provide accommodation and basic infrastructure in northern Afghanistan in order to facilitate the integration of IDPs and returnees into host communities. The Afghan-German Cooperation’s project Integration of Internally Displaced People in Afghanistan (IDPP) aims at easing tensions and avoid conflict between IDPs and host communities. To achieve this, the project provides accommodation for returnees and IDPs as well as infrastructure that also benefits the host communities. Simultaneously, the project offers training to staff of the MoRR to strengthen its capacities in managing the situation and thus stabilising affected regions. Click HERE for further information on the project.

In addition, the Afghan-German Cooperation supports measures that improve the job prospects of IDPs and returnees. Since 2019, the RESTART programme has been creating job opportunities, for example via cash-for-work initiatives, by supporting companies that are willing to employ newcomers or by promoting start-ups. Click HERE to find out more about RESTART.

Further, and as part of its humanitarian efforts in the country, the German government supports emergency measures and humanitarian aid for IDPs and returnees in the provinces of Herat and Nangarhar as well as health care for communities in Kabul that are overburdened by newcomers. Click HERE to find more about these projects.

Creating future prospects through opportunities for earning and employment

The Afghan-German Cooperation aims at improving conditions for economic activities and employment in northern Afghanistan. Many measures particularly aim at providing poor families, returnees and IDPs the opportunity to earn an income in the short-term. Find further information HERE.

Education and training – the keys to a brighter future

A country’s economic success goes hand in hand with levels of education and training: only a well-trained generation will be able to make use of the opportunities available and to contribute to positive development. Therefore, the Afghan-German Cooperation has been supporting the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) System in Afghanistan since 2009. Click HERE for further information.

In addition, the Afghan-German Cooperation supports primary and secondary education in Afghanistan. Find out more HERE.

A peaceful future for all Afghan citizens

All Afghan citizens should be able to live unaffected by crime and extremism. The Civil Peace Service (ZFD) project, launched in 2004, is designed to strengthen peace between ethnic, religious and social groups, using reflection, creative ways of tackling fear and anger, measures to build trust, non-violent communication, constructive criticism, self-help, and dispute mediation. Click HERE for further information.

A national health service

For most Afghans, appropriate medical care is out of reach because in many cases, clinics, health centres and hospitals are several days’ journey away. That is why the Afghan-German Cooperation supports the Afghan health sector with various projects.

Click HERE for further information about expanding nationwide health care and optimising the healthcare system.


#RumoursAboutGermany – an information campaign in Afghanistan

The German Federal Foreign Office has launched a wide-ranging information campaign in Afghanistan as part of its efforts to combat rumours and lies spread by human traffickers. Using a wide range of channels – radio and television, social media, communications from the Embassy and civil society events – it aims to ensure that Afghan citizens who are considering fleeing to Europe have a realistic picture of life in Europe and do not risk their lives based on false information. The objective is to inform, not to deter: à http://www.rumoursaboutgermany.info


Do not believe the rumours and false information deliberately spread by human traffickers about the allegedly easy trip and the easy life in Germany.

Do not risk your lives by trying to flee to Europe.

Human traffickers are criminals who are only interested in money. They don’t tell the truth and don’t care about human lives.

“Germany is withdrawing its support for Afghanistan.”

Wrong! Germany will continue to support Afghanistan. It will persevere in its endeavours to stabilise the country by training the Afghan armed forces and helping people in Afghanistan, particularly in regards education and vocational training.

“Simply coming from Afghanistan gives you a right to asylum.”

This is not true! Only people who have been persecuted can hope to be granted asylum.

“All the Afghans I know in Europe are successful.”

In most cases, refugees invest their own money, and often that of their relatives, in order to reach Europe. It is obvious that they try to portray this step as a success to the people back home, even though the reality is, unfortunately, quite different. Many Afghans in Germany who have no qualifications or do not speak German are unemployed.

“I’ll be able to work in Germany.”

The German government does not provide refugees with jobs. It often takes many years before a refugee is allowed to work legally in Germany.

“I’ll get a welcome payment.”

Contrary to rumours and misinformation deliberately spread by human traffickers, Germany does not give refugees a welcome payment. By spreading such lies, human traffickers knowingly put people’s lives in danger.

“I’ll be able to earn a living and receive benefits in Germany.”

The German government does not provide refugees with jobs. Moreover, the cost of living is considerably higher in Germany than it is in Afghanistan.

“You can get by with English in Germany.”

German is the only language spoken in everyday life, public authorities and most companies in Germany.

“Germany can take 800,000 immigrants.”

Wrong! Residence in Germany is subject to specific legal requirements. Illegal residence is a criminal offence. People who are not granted permission to stay will be deported.

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