Trapped in the Margins: Russia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Story of Afghan Refugees in Tajikistan
Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Christopher Toulouse, Ph.D.
Since the Taliban’s return to Afghanistan, thousands of Afghans have fled the country in search of refugee status abroad. In the wake of this crisis, one country in the region, Tajikistan, opened its borders to Afghans, vowing to grant refugee status to 100,000. Today, Tajikistan has closed its borders and is forcibly returning Afghan refugees and asylum seekers. This research aims to reveal the extent of influence that external parties have on Afghan refugee flows in Tajikistan. For this paper, the two external parties examined are the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Russia. In examining the role of these two parties in Tajikistan’s refugee policy, this paper deals with two separate cases of Afghan refugee flows to Tajikistan. The first was engendered by the Taliban’s most recent return to power in 2021. The second case was incited by the Taliban’s original rise to power in 2000. To analyze these two cases, this work utilizes the frameworks set up by border externalization literature to understand the competing influences of the UNHCR and Russia in Tajikistan. While the current Afghan refugee crisis does not yet have a clear result, and the role of Tajikistan is ever-evolving, this paper highlights the importance of discussing external influences when researching refugee flows.
Schutt, Meredith, "Trapped in the Margins: Russia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Story of Afghan Refugees in Tajikistan" (2023). Senior Theses. 128.