Afghans have been fleeing from their country for years. At the end of last year, 3.6 million Afghans were living as refugees in other countries. Most were in Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan held 2 million while Iran held 1.48 million. There were also 38,000 living in other countries in the region. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 172,000 Afghans fled to Pakistan during the year, and 28,790 sought asylum in Europe. It's very hard to give an accurate amount of Afghans internally displaced because of conflict, but the U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) believed the figure to be 375,000. Another 140,000 Afghans were internally displaced in western (70,000) and southern (70,000) Afghanistan because of drought.
76,000 Afghans came back to Afghanistan from Pakistan during 2000. Over 133,600 returned from Iran under a UNHCR-assisted repatriation program. Another 50,000 Afghans returned from Iran without UNHCR assistance, although some were under pressure from the Iranian authorities. The UNCHR didn't assist those returning from Iran so it is believed some of the refugees returned against their will.
The conflict in Afghanistan began after a communist