The UN refugee agency UNHCR on Friday appealed for intensified support for displaced Afghans, saying that Afghans are the single largest group of asylum seekers arriving in Europe.
Speaking ahead of the first ever Global Refugee Forum in Geneva next week, Babar Baloch, spokesperson for UNHCR, told a press briefing here that of the roughly 70,000 migrant arrivals in the Eastern Mediterranean so far this year, 37.4 percent had been Afghans.
"As we enter the fifth decade of Afghan displacement, some 4.6 million Afghans remain uprooted globally," he said, adding that this includes some 2.7 million registered as refugees, and the rest displaced inside Afghanistan.
"Afghans represent the longest displaced and the longest dispossessed population under UNHCR's mandate worldwide," he added.
According to UNHCR, an overwhelming majority of some 90 percent of Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan and Iran.
Also, the overwhelming majority of displaced Afghans both within the country and in exile are youth. In Pakistan and Iran, approximately three quarters are under the age of 25.
"These young refugees are the future of Afghanistan and are critical to shaping their communities -- but they will require more support to do so," Baloch said.