In a new expulsion campaign, Pakistan is forcing many Afghans out of the country

Pakistan is expelling many Afghans ahead of a government deadline for undocumented foreigners to leave or face deportation, mostly impacting Afghans who compose the majority of migrants in the country.

The backdrop: Pakistan’s new anti-migrant crackdown, targeting all undocumented or unregistered foreigners, has triggered criticism from U.N. agencies, human rights groups, and the Taliban-led administration in Afghanistan.
* Pakistani officials have warned of arrest and deportation for illegal migrants after October 31st.
* While the government denies specifically targeting Afghans, the expulsion campaign coincides with strained relations between Pakistan and the Taliban.

Irregular migration: Over 2 million undocumented Afghans reside in Pakistan, among whom at least 600,000 fled post the Taliban takeover in 2021.
* More than 200,000 Afghans have returned since the crackdown, according to Pakistani officials.
* Human Right Watch accuses Pakistan of using “threats, abuse, and detention to coerce Afghan asylum seekers without legal status” to return to Afghanistan.

The fear of expulsion: Many Afghans, like Mohammad Amin and Nasrullah Khan, are leaving Pakistan to avoid getting arrested, despite their deep-rooted connections and years of residence in the country.
* Pakistan has stated that deportations will be done in a “phased and orderly” manner.
* Pakistani officials have also extended the daily closing time of the Torkam and Chaman border crossings with Afghanistan to allow a larger exodus.

Processing difficulties: The Pakistani crackdown poses difficulties for thousands of Afghans in Pakistan awaiting relocation to the U.S. under a special refugee program.
* According to a U.S. diplomat, Washington intends to facilitate the safe and efficient relocation of more than 25,000 eligible Afghans in Pakistan to the U.S.
* The U.S. had appealed to Islamabad to protect Afghan refugees and asylum seekers prior to this campaign’s announcement.
View original article on NPR
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