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Diaspora Engagement Efforts in Afghanistan Real-Time Review

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This Real-Time Report is part of the Diaspora Emergency Action & Coordination Initiative (DEMAC) "Research study on diaspora humanitarian response and engagement".

The review focuses on the period from mid-August to End of September 2021, providing a rapid analysis of the response of Afghan diaspora organizations in the aftermath of the Taliban takeover on August 16. The report aims at (1) assessing what actions Afghan diaspora organizations have been engaging in terms of advocacy, coalition building, and direct engagement; (2) assessing changes in diaspora dynamics since the Taliban takeover and the nature of these changes; and (3) recording how any relevant changes in dynamics have resulted in tangible outcomes and actions.

The Real-Time Report was made possible by USAID and DANIDA and was undertaken by the Danish Refugee Council’s Diaspora Program and DEMAC. Together with a team of consultants, the research team conducted online media monitoring from 15 August 2021 to 30 September 2021 of 60 Afghan diaspora organizations from Europe (26), North America (21), Afghanistan’s neighboring countries (9), Australia (5), and one global organization. It consisted of a daily review of online diaspora statements, events, and fundraising pages through 100 social media accounts. To provide additional context, key informant interviews were conducted with representatives of ten Afghan diaspora organizations, as well as DRC Diaspora Program staff.

As a result of four decades of conflict and displacement, the Afghan diaspora is complex, multi-ethnic, and comprises multiple generations of arrivals. Some of the diaspora are young new arrivals, while others have been residing in the country of residence for decades. In some cases, young diaspora members may have recently arrived in Europe, but have grown up in refugee settings in Pakistan or, more commonly, Iran. This means that the Afghan diaspora are not a unified group.

The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban on 16 August 2021 resulted in heated public debate about the two-decade war, the humanitarian implications of the withdrawal, and the future of women and civil society in Afghanistan.

The role of the Afghan diaspora is now in flux; diaspora organizations have been called on by the media to comment on the political and human rights situation, while simultaneously navigating the personal and professional effects of the new political reality. Prior to the Taliban takeover, some components of the Afghan diaspora had increasingly taken up a human rights advocacy role while also providing resettlement support for recent Afghan arrivals, with some limited provision of humanitarian and social assistance in Afghanistan.

Who is DEMAC – Diaspora Emergency Action & Coordination?

DEMAC is a global initiative aiming at enhancing mutual knowledge and coordination, communication and coherence between diaspora humanitarian actors and the institutional humanitarian system. DEMAC initiative is hosted by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and funded by USAID (BHA).