ISLAMABAD (Diya TV) – Pakistan initiated a nationwide crackdown on undocumented foreign nationals, including Afghan refugees, following the government’s ultimatum to leave the country by November 1. The move comes as a response to concerns over public welfare and national security, but it is also driven by domestic politics and strained relations with the Taliban-led Afghan government.
In the past two months, approximately 200,000 Afghan nationals have already left Pakistan, and recent daily returns are three times higher than usual, according to the Taliban refugee ministry spokesman Abdul Mutaleb Haqqani. The government claims that the first phase of deportations targets those without any documentation, emphasizing that the policy applies to all undocumented foreigners, not just Afghans. However, reports suggest that even documented Afghans have been affected by the crackdown. Government officials say Pakistan hosts more than four million Afghans, 1.7 million of whom are undocumented.
Critics argue that Pakistan’s deportation policy is unjust, given that many Afghan refugees have lived in the country for decades and contributed to its society. Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have raised concerns, particularly for women and girls who may face grave dangers upon returning to Afghanistan. UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, also expressed worries about certain vulnerable groups, such as minorities, journalists, and women.
The international community is apprehensive about the impact of this mass deportation on Afghanistan’s already fragile economy. The country has faced economic collapse since the Taliban took over in 2021, with the unemployment rate doubling and a significant portion of the population needing humanitarian aid.
The Taliban government has called Pakistan’s move unacceptable and has offered amnesty to those who worked for international forces. However, many deportees still fear for their lives upon returning to Afghanistan, citing a lack of trust in the Taliban’s assurances.
As Pakistan proceeds with its crackdown on undocumented foreign nationals, it remains to be seen how the situation will affect both the refugees and the broader geopolitical dynamics in the region.