Thousands of Afghans continue to flow The undocumented migrants entered the country from Pakistan as they seek to avoid deportation after Islamabad’s deadline for the departure of undocumented migrants, a move the United Nations warns could lead to “serious” human rights violations.
Since November 2, those responsible said more than 165,000 Afghans have fled Pakistan in the month since the government ordered some 1.7 million migrants – including more than a million Afghan nationals who fled after Kabul’s August 2021 takeover by Taliban militants – to leave under penalty of arrest. and deportation.
The majority rushed to the border in recent days as the November 1 deadline approached and police began opening dozens of centers to detain arrested Afghans before expelling them. Across the border, Taliban officials also opened temporary transit camps to help those returning.
More than 100 people were arrested in a police operation in the city of Karachi on November 2, while police arrested 425 Afghans in Quetta, the town closest to the Chaman border post.
WATCH: Afghan refugees in Pakistan, many of whom traveled for days, entered Afghanistan as the November 1 deadline to leave the country came into effect. Islamabad has pledged to deport around 1.7 million undocumented Afghans living in Pakistan if they do not leave voluntarily.
Islamabad said the expulsions were aimed at protecting its “well-being and security” in Pakistan after a sharp increase in attacks, which the government blames on militants operating from Afghanistan.
The Taliban-led Afghan administration has rejected Pakistan’s accusations against Afghan migrants and asked all countries hosting Afghan refugees to give them more time to prepare for their repatriation.
The Afghan embassy in Islamabad said the move would further damage relations between the neighboring countries.
Pakistan has rejected calls to reconsider its decision from the UN, rights groups and Western governments, who have urged it to include in its plan a way to identify and protect Afghans facing at risk of persecution in their country from activists in power.
At the country’s busiest border crossing, at Torkham, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, authorities worked until the early hours of November 1 to clear a line of 28,000 people that stretched 7 kilometers, l ‘AFP.
Just over 129,000 people fled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial interior ministry said, while a total of 38,100 crossed into Chaman, Balochistan province, border authorities told AFP.
On the Afghan side of the border, authorities have set up a center several kilometers from the border post, as well as camps for families with nowhere to go.
WATCH: In Karachi on November 1, Afghan men and boys were put on buses and taken to a temporary detention center.
Pakistan is home to more than 4 million Afghan migrants and refugees, about 1.7 million of whom are undocumented, according to Islamabad, even though many of them have lived in Pakistan their entire lives.
About 600,000 Afghans have crossed the border into neighboring Pakistan since the Taliban took power and imposed their harsh interpretation of Islamic law, joining large numbers since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
Some Afghans who have been ordered to leave have never been to Afghanistan and wonder how they could start a new life there.
Pakistan’s decision to deport undocumented foreigners is seen as part of an anti-immigration crackdown criticized by human rights groups.
The Pakistan People’s Party, the National Democratic Movement and other politicians and human rights activists called before the Supreme Court on November 1 to end the forced deportation of undocumented foreigners.
On October 31, the chairperson of the non-governmental Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Hina Jilani, wrote to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to warn that Islamabad’s decision to expel Afghans could “trigger a humanitarian crisis”.
Human Rights Watch slammed Islamabad, saying this has led to significant threats and abuses against Afghans living in the country.
Since returning to power, the radical Islamist Taliban have barred women and adolescent girls from accessing education in Afghanistan. It also barred them from employment in most sectors and discouraged them from leaving their homes.