Since 2002, close to 5.3 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan under UNHCR's facilitated Voluntary Repatriation programme. During the first quarter of 2022, 131 Afghans returned under the programme, of which 58% are children (under 18), the month of March registered the highest figure for returns in 2022, with 57 (44%). In the same period of 2021, 573 returns were registered, over three times higher than in this year, and during the first quarter of 2020, 278 returns were verified.
In 2022, 71% of the returns focused on two provinces Hirat (62) and Sar-e-Pul (31). Nearly a fifth of registered returnees interviewed at Encashment Centres (ECs) in 2022 reported that their children did not attend school in the country of asylum. 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.