Migration Risks of the Afghan Crisis

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-7-106-116
P.G. Demidov Yaroslavl’ State University, 14, Sovetskaya Str., Yaroslavl’, 150003, Russian Federation.

Received 04.10.2021. Revised 02.03.2022. Accepted 06.05.2022.

Abstract. The hasty withdrawal of US troops and their NATO allies from Afghanistan in August 2021 caused an acute, but local-scale migration crisis. During this crisis, about 200 thousand people were evacuated from the country by the air forces of the Western coalition. The difficult socio-political and economic situation inside Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power poses a threat of a much larger migration crisis. Analogies with the migration consequences of the civil war in Syria, which has been going on since 2011, make it possible to predict the appearance of 8–9.5 million Afghan refugees within a few years who will go to Iran, Pakistan and Central Asia in the event of an aggravation of the internal conflict and further deterioration of the socio-economic situation in Afghanistan. About 1 million of them may end up in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in case of a negative scenario. The appearance of large masses of refugees in Central Asian countries that do not have developed economies will lead to an acute humanitarian crisis. The existence of a visa-free regime between Russia and most of these states will eventually allow immigrants from Afghanistan to freely visit its territory. The penetration of members of radical Islamist organizations based in Afghanistan into the CIS countries is particularly dangerous. The most negative scenario is the spread of a zone of military instability on the territory of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan bordering Afghanistan, where about 50 million people live. The destabilization of these states threatens the emergence of mass forced emigration of their indigenous Muslim population to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia. The negative consequences of these processes will be an increase in the burden on the budget, the education, health and social security systems, the aggravation of terrorist threats, the criminogenic situation and interethnic conflicts. In the long term, mass migration from Central Asia will lead to the transformation of the ethno-confessional structure of Russia, which, in the conditions of depopulation of its population due to the COVID‑19 epidemic, may become irreversible.

Keywords: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Russia, USA, CIS, crisis, refugees, forced migration, threats, scenarios for migrations


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For citation:
Shustov A. Migration Risks of the Afghan Crisis. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 7, pp. 106-116. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-7-106-116

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