In 2001 initial figures say there were 9,190 applications for asylum in the UK from Afghanistan. This figure makes Afghanistan the biggest single originator of asylum claims, and it is nearly double the amount of people who applied in 2000.
Over 9,000 people making claims from Afghanistan were allowed to stay in the UK last year.
To call Afghanistan a ‘failed state’ in recent years is something of an understatement.
Decades of civil war, and the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks which saw a US led international coalition remove Afghanistan’s Taleban government have left the population exhausted and impoverished.
Although an international protection force operates in the capital Kabaul lawlessness and banditry are major problems across the country, as is unemployment.
Despite this stability is being slowly built up in the country as a new interim government hopes to enable a new constitution to be agreed and elections are due to follow within two years.
Over the past two decades millions of Afghans have fled abroad, mostly to neighbouring countries, and many people are still displaced within Afghanistan itself.
Afghans are the largest single refugee group in the world. Apart from those fleeing from war many of the refugees are a hangover from the deposed Taleban government.
Initially it brought a measure of stability after decades of conflict but their extreme version of Islam saw human rights violations become a part of state policy as the Taleban's rigid social code severely restricted women's rights to freedom of movement, employment, health care and education.