Since 2002, nearly 5.3 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan under UNHCR's facilitated Voluntary Repatriation programme. During the last quarter of 2021, some 92 Afghans returned under the programme, which brings the overall return figure to 1,363 in 2021, of which 59% are children (under 18). The number of returns during the first six months of 2021 represent 84% of the total returnees throughout the year. March was the month with the highest number of returns (265), while October was the lowest (13).
In 2021, nearly three quarters of returnees have returned to five provinces: Herat (32%); Kabul (18%); Sar-e-Pul (10%); Kunduz (8%); and Balkh (6%). Nearly a quarter of registered returnees interviewed at Encashment Centres (ECs) in 2021 reported that their children did not attend school in the country of asylum, while 67% reported attendance while in the asylum country. 64% of those interviewed reported having been exiled for more than ten years. At ECs in Afghanistan, returning refugees received a cash grant up to USD 250 per individual, as well as a range of services to support their reintegration in their places of origin.