Wednesday 8 November 2023

Pakistan To Expel Over 1.5 Million Afghans, Cites Terrorism As Reason

 Pakistan is reportedly deporting over 1.5 million Afghans from the country as part of the government’s removal of illegal immigrants as part of a “repatriation plan.”

“Of the roughly 4 million Afghans living in Pakistan, about 1.7 million people are thought to be in the crosshairs of this ‘repatriation plan,’” The Washington Post reported.

“The UN estimates that more than 200,000 Afghans without papers have left Pakistan for Afghanistan since Islamabad announced its ‘Illegal Foreigners Repatriation Plan’ just over a month ago,” the Financial Times stated.

The current interior minister, Sarfraz Bugti, cited security from terrorism as a driving force behind the decision; he said that 14 out of 24 major terrorist attacks in Pakistan in 2023 were executed by Afghan nationals.

He said at the beginning of October, “All illegal immigrants residing in Pakistan have until November 1 to return to their countries voluntarily. And if they fail to leave by the deadline, all our state law enforcement agencies will unleash an operation with full-throttle to deport them.  … We have come under 24 suicide bomb attacks since January, and 14 of them were carried out by Afghan nationals. … We have evidence that Afghans were involved in these attacks and are taking up the issue through our foreign ministry with Taliban authorities in Afghanistan.”


“The military, which exerts heavy influence over the caretaker regime, is likely driving the policy,” Michael Kugelman the director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center, said. “But it’s letting the caretaker regime — which need not worry about political blowback — take any public flak.”

After the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021, between 600,000 and 800,000 Afghans reportedly fled Afghanistan and settled in Pakistan. The Pakistani government has asserted that only 2.2 million Afghans of the roughly 3.8 million living in Pakistan have a government-approved document that certifies their eligibility to stay in the country.

In July, after 12 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack, Pakistan’s military said, “Such attacks are intolerable and would elicit an effective response from the security forces of Pakistan. The involvement of Afghan nationals in acts of terrorism in Pakistan is another important concern that needs to be addressed.”

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