The mass influx in Europe of people fleeing violence and poverty is framed in public discourses in terms of ‘crisis’, with the figure of the ‘migrant other’ portrayed as a challenge to Europe’s security, identity and values. This narrative tends to obscure the longer social, political and economic dynamics that have led to such a situation. While Syrians have been by far the most important group in the last few years, Afghans have consistently constituted during the last decades one of the single largest groups of asylum seekers in European countries. One of the main reasons for such uninterrupted arrivals is the continuing volatile security situation since the Communist coup of 1978 and the limited success of the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan since the international intervention and the fall of the Taliban regime in the autumn of 2001. The partial withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014 is the expression of a political and military deadlock rather than the result of the success of the nation-building effort.
Alessandro Monsutti is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology of Development at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. He has conducted multi-sited research since the mid-1990s in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran to study the modes of solidarity and cooperation mobilised in a situation of conflict and forced migration. Beyond that, he has worked as a consultant for several international and nongovernmental organisations such as UNHCR. He is the author of War and Migration: Social Networks and Economic Strategies of the Hazaras of Afghanistan (Routledge, 2005).
Head of Publications, IWM
Head of the Foreign Politics Department, Die Presse
In cooperation with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse and generously supported by EVN.