(Human) security dilemmas: Long-term implications of the Afghan refugee crisis

Suzanne Schmeidl

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    ABSTRACT Large-scale refugee movements clearly pose a threat to human, state, and societal security. Balancing the different levels of security threats is difficult. The case of the Afghan refugees is interesting, as (forced) migration was not linked to security until years after the initial displacement, and during a time when refugee numbers were not at their peak. Furthermore, countries with smaller numbers of refugees felt more threatened than those bearing the bulk. This article sets out to explore this interesting security puzzle, trying to answer the question whether the South Asian security dilemma can be linked to migration and displacement in the region, or other factors. The article concludes that a security-migration linkage seems to be based more on the duration than the size of displacement. Furthermore, policies by regional and internationa l actors toward Afghan refugees contributed to the development of refugee warrior communities linked to state and international security concerns. Finally, power politics and geo-strategic as well as economic interests also contributed to the security dilemma. All these factors need to be considered in future refugee assistance in order to assume that human security is not sacrificed for that of states, and that the victims (refugees) are not the only ones held responsible.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7-29
    JournalThird World Quarterly
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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