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What Can Make Displaced People More Vulnerable to Extremism? A Study in Afghanistan Offers Clues for Better Policies in the World’s Violent Conflict Zones

Image courtesy of Joshua Ives/DVIDS.

This article was originally published by the United State Institute of Peace (USIP) on 14 March 2019.

As the international community works to prevent new generations of radicalization in war-torn regions, debate focuses often on the problem of people uprooted from their homes—a population that has reached a record high of 68.5 million people. Public discussion in Europe, the United States and elsewhere includes the notion that displaced peoples are at high risk of being radicalized by extremist groups such as ISIS. Scholars and peacebuilding practitioners have rightly warned against such generalizations, underscoring the need to learn which situations may make uprooted people vulnerable to radicalization. A new USIP study from Afghanistan notes the importance of specific conditions faced by displaced people—and it offers indications suggesting the importance for policy of supporting early interventions to stabilize the living conditions of displaced people after they return home.