In 1990 the U.N. estimated there were 6.3 million Afghans in exile. 3.3 million in Pakistan and 3 million in Iran.
By 2001 it was estimated that perhaps one-third of Afghanistan’s 26 million people had been forced to flee their homes, temporarily or permanently.
By 2009, a survey by the International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent Society found that 76% of Afghans had been displaced by violence.
Addressing the needs of Afghans displaced by violence is going to be a huge challenge to all future governments.
As has been the case from the beginning, until there is a measure of security, accountability and opportunity for Afghans, facilitating their return will be difficult.
Here is evidence of a start.
"Afghan officials say an ambitious program is being planned to try and bring back millions of Afghan refugees living in Iran and Pakistan, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.
The program, which will be discussed at an international conference on Afghanistan to be held in Tokyo next year, envisions the repatriation of more than 3 million Afghan refugees living mainly in the border regions of neighboring Iran and Pakistan.
Afghan Minister for Refugees and Returnees Jamohir Anuri told RFE/RL on September 27 that the government needs international assistance to successfully implement the program.
"Millions of Afghan refugees around the world live in difficulty, with many denied basic rights and access to health care, food, and shelter," he said. "We believe they have a better chance of receiving these things in Afghanistan."