Over 165,000 Afghans left Pakistan Following Deportation Order

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Over 165,000 Afghans left Pakistan Following Orders

Over 165,000 Afghans have left Pakistan in the month since the Pakistani government ordered 1.7 million people to leave or face arrest and deportation, according to officials. The majority of them rushed to the border in the past several days as the November 1 deadline approached, and police began opening dozens of holding centres to detain arrested Afghans.

Authorities on the Afghan side of the border are struggling to process the returning Afghans, some of whom are setting foot in Afghanistan for the first time in their lives.

The Taliban government’s refugees minister, Khalil Haqqani, has called for more time and urged Pakistani authorities not to make Afghans’ return difficult.

Meanwhile, Pakistani authorities have detained hundreds of Afghans and plan to continue their immigration crackdown, encouraging undocumented Afghans to leave voluntarily.

This situation has arisen after millions of Afghans have sought refuge in Pakistan over recent decades due to various violent conflicts, including approximately 600,000 who arrived since the Taliban took power in August 2021.

Pakistan has cited the need to protect its “welfare and security” as the reason for deportations, following a rise in attacks that the government attributes to militants operating from Afghanistan.

The Afghan embassy in Islamabad has expressed concerns that this move will further damage relations between the two neighbouring nations.

Rights groups and lawyers have accused the Pakistani government of using threats, abuse, and detention to coerce Afghan asylum seekers to leave, while Afghans have reported arbitrary arrests and extortion.

The expulsion of undocumented Afghans is supported by many Pakistanis, as a protracted refugee presence has placed a significant burden on the country’s infrastructure.

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