Anti-Afghan sentiment is the dislike, hatred, fear, prejudice, resentment, discrimination against and/or any other form of negative sentiment towards Afghan people and/or negative sentiments towards the country of Afghanistan or anything associated with it.

The sentiment dates back at least two centuries and has seen a rise in the past few decades across the world with the increase of Afghan migrants, refugees and issues relating to unlawful acts, including terrorism and other forms of international crime that have connections to Afghanistan or Afghan people.


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By region


See also: Racism in Australia

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Prejudice towards Afghan people in Australia was first known to be recorded in the 1800s when Afghan migrants first arrived as camel riders in Australia.[1][2][3][4] An anti-Afghan league was even formed in 1886.[5][6]

Asia and Middle East


Afghan refugees and migrants have lived for decades in Iran. However, the crimes associated with Afghans have led to an increase in anti-Afghan sentiment amongst local Iranian citizens and authorities alike.[7][8]


Further information: Afghanistan–Pakistan relations, Durand Line, Afghanistan–Pakistan border skirmishes, and Afghans in Pakistan

Anti-Afghan sentiment has been reported amongst locals in Pakistan, including public demonstrations with anti-Afghan slogans, resulting from the crime associated with Afghan residents in Pakistan.[9] The past few decades have only seen a rise in this sentiment from Pakistanis.[10][11]


The presence of Afghan refugees in Tajikistan incited prejudice amongst local Tajiks, also making it hard for Afghan traders to do business there.[12]


Turkey is currently claimed to be hosting the largest refugee population in the world. With the increase of Afghan refugees and crimes associated with them, public sentiment in Turkey began to turn against Afghans.[13] The result was a further stepping effort by Turkey's government to further secure its border with Iran to stop a further influx of Afghans.[13]

However, with the increase in crime and social disruption, anti-Afghan sentiment continued to rise in Turkey.[14] Social media in Turkey has seen an increase in hate speech against Afghans, even before more refugees arrived.[15]

European countries

See also: European refugee crisis

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The rise of crime involving Afghan refugees and immigrants has stocked anti-Afghan public sentiment amongst locals across Europe. The worsening situation involving Afghan migrants and refugees in Europe resulted in politicians openly stating that Afghans will no longer be welcomed in their individual countries.[16] Another Afghan refugee was quoted stating the sentiment against Afghans was so bad that they were better off going back to Afghanistan rather than "facing humiliation" in Europe.[17]


See also: Crime in Austria

The Austrian press reported the influx of Afghan refugees. At the time of arrival of Afghan refugees and migrants, the local authorities and citizens welcomed them. But soon after overstaying their welcome by increasing the crime problems in the country, public sentiment towards Afghans began to deteriorate badly and stir up anti-Afghan sentiment.[18] Some Afghan refugees accused of sex crimes against minors had previous deportation orders issued against them because of these unlawful acts.[19]


See also: Afghans in Finland, Sexual violence in Finland, and Oulu child sexual exploitation scandal

A number of sexual crimes committed by Afghan migrants/refugees has been reported. One of these cases involved the rape of a local fourteen year old girl in the town of Kempele by an Afghan national. The reported incident sparked public outcry against refugees and even sparked riots, with human shields of local Finnish citizens blocking the borders to prevent refugees from entering. Some Finnish parliament members even called on refugees not to come to the country.[20][21]

A 2018 research report argued that ever since the incidents in Kempele, a surge in affiliating rape crimes with refugees has become a new trend based on stereotypical prejudices.[22]


See also: Crime in Germany

A 23 year old Afghan migrant in Germany was arrested for raping an eleven year old girl. About twelve days after being released from prison, he raped a thirteen year old. He was re-arrested shortly. His previous release and actions, triggered public outcry. German politicians called for any migrant or refugee convicted of such offenses to be deported back to their country. The acting vice chancellor urged German people not to scapegoat migrants and warned right-wing groups not to exploit the incidents for propaganda purposes.[23][24]


The rise of crime affiliated with Afghan refugees in Greece has amplified anti-Afghan sentiments in the country. Several incidents involving hate attacks on Afghan residents in Greece have been reported.[25] In one example an Afghan refugee family were beaten in Greece and set adrift into the sea.[26]


Italy has grown more and more resistant towards Afghan refugees; especially following public sentiment against the Roma people which was amplified by the European refugee crisis. The recent increase of Afghan refugees has strengthened right-wing sentiments in the country against accepting them. There has been a common sentiment in the country with affiliating refugees with crime.[27]

United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom (UK) has witnessed increasing incidents relating to Afghan refugees causing backlash from locals. In one of these incidents a local teenage girl was forcefully held and raped by Afghan nationals. The incident went viral amongst local British residents on social media and resulted in violent public protests in which a police vehicle was damaged.[28]

North America

United States of America

Following the 9/11 incidents in 2001, a wave of violent anti-Muslim attacks and other sentiments were directed at Muslim residents. Amongst the slogans were hate speech directed towards Afghans.[29][30]

Separately, anti-Afghan opinions also arose in the US for the country's involvement in the global drug trade.[31]

More recently, following the 2020–2021 US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, American politician Scott Perry, argued against allowing in Afghan refugees without proper investigation; claiming it could lead to a crime hike, including rape crimes against underage girls. He was amongst 16 other American politicians voting against allowing Afghan refugees in without having proper background checks done. His comments drew some criticism. Former president Donald Trump made similar concerns, claiming terrorists could be airlifted out of Afghanistan.[32]

Cultural criticism

Bacha Bazi, a practice sometimes found in Afghanistan, has been gaining critical attention over the decades by foreigners.[33][34]


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  13. ^ a b Wilks, Andrew (July 29, 2021). "Afghans fleeing the Taliban face renewed anti-migrant sentiment in Turkey". The National.
  14. ^ Cookman, Liz (August 5, 2021). "Fleeing the Taliban: Afghans met with rising anti-refugee hostility in Turkey". The Guardian.
  15. ^ Minute, Turkish (July 23, 2021). "Hate speech against refugees increases on Turkish social media as a new wave of Afghan migrants arrive".
  16. ^ Bennhold, Katrin; Erlanger, Steven (August 18, 2021). "Why Europe's Leaders Say They Won't Welcome More Afghan Refugees". The New York Times – via
  17. ^ "'The greener side of the same hell': Afghans on a year in EU". openDemocracy.
  18. ^ Benard, Cheryl (July 11, 2017). "I've Worked with Refugees for Decades. Europe's Afghan Crime Wave Is Mind-Boggling". The National Interest.
  19. ^ "Rape, killing of 13-year-old shocks Austria, 3 Afghans held". AP NEWS. 2021-07-01. Retrieved 2023-06-21.
  20. ^ "Reports of suspected rape stir up fear and resentment in Kempele". 25 November 2015.
  21. ^ "PM Sipilä calls crisis meeting over Kempele rape case". 24 November 2015.
  22. ^ Saresma, Tuija. "Politics of fear and racialized rape: Intersectional reading of the Kempele rape case." Racialization, racism, and anti-racism in the Nordic countries. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2018. 63-91.
  23. ^ "Freiburg murder: Germans urged not to scapegoat migrants". BBC News. 5 December 2016.
  24. ^
  25. ^ Sunderland, Judith (July 10, 2012). "Hate on the Streets". Human Rights Watch.
  26. ^ "Afghan asylum family beaten in Greece, set adrift at sea". EUobserver. February 25, 2021.
  27. ^ Fernández, Belén. "Afghans are the next victims of Italy's war on refugees". Retrieved 2023-06-21.
  28. ^ Bolton, Will (13 February 2023). "Four teenage asylum seekers arrested in connection with alleged rape of schoolgirl in Kent". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2023-05-17.
  29. ^ Perry, Barbara. "Anti-Muslim retaliatory violence following the 9/11 terrorist attacks." Hate and Bias Crime. Routledge, 2012. 201-220.
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  31. ^ Collins, John, and Ian Tennant. "Evaluating Afghanistan’s Past, Present, and Future Engagement with Multilateral Drug Control." (2022).
  32. ^ "A GOP rep. Claimed that allowing 'poorly-vetted' Afghan refugees to come to the US could lead to 'little girls raped and killed in the streets'".
  33. ^ Verma, Sreyasi. "Why the issue of Bacha Bazi deserves international attention." (2019).
  34. ^ Schut, Michelle, and Eva van Baarle. "3 Dancing Boys and the Moral."