According the latest announced on 27th September 2023 (Wednesday) by the the Government of Pakistan has made a significant decision to send back all the Afghan refugees who are living in the country without proper documentation. The caretaker federal cabinet has approved the repatriation of approximately 1.1 million Afghan refugees who are residing in Pakistan unlawfully.
This move comes in the midst of growing tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Pakistani government asserts that there are 1.1 million Afghan refugees currently living in the country without legal status.
Since the Taliban assumed control of Afghanistan, nearly a million Afghans have entered Pakistan without following the required legal procedures. Pakistani authorities claim that a substantial number of these refugees are involved in activities that oppose the state and engage in criminal behavior. Therefore, they will be sent back to Afghanistan as soon as possible.
Pakistan has communicated this decision to the Afghan Taliban government. It’s important to note that Pakistan has been hosting millions of Afghan refugees for many years, with a peak population of five million at one point. Currently, there are still approximately four million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, but only a few of them possess valid refugee cards.
The crackdown on illegal Afghan refugees is a response to the strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, mainly concerning the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The belief is that Pakistan is taking action against illegal Afghan refugees because the Afghan Taliban has not shown a willingness to address the TTP issue.
Recently, a delegation of Pakistani officials visited Kabul to meet with the Afghan Taliban government and urge them to take action against the banned TTP. While the Afghan Taliban has indicated some intent to counter the TTP, Pakistani officials remain uncertain about whether they will follow through, as similar promises have been made in the past.
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Pakistan’s decision to repatriate illegal Afghan refugees is expected to provoke reactions from the Afghan Taliban government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The UNHCR opposes the policy of forced refugee repatriation.