Pakistan Expels 838 Afghan Migrants, Exacerbating Humanitarian Crisis

Pakistan's mass deportation of Afghan migrants worsens the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, highlighting the need for international cooperation to address the plight of Afghan refugees.

Muhammad Jawad
New Update
Pakistan Expels 838 Afghan Migrants, Exacerbating Humanitarian Crisis

Pakistan Expels 838 Afghan Migrants, Exacerbating Humanitarian Crisis

Pakistan expelled 838 Afghan migrants, including families and individuals, who re-entered Afghanistan through the Torghundi and Spin Boldak borders. The mass deportation has worsened the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with returnees facing a lack of shelter, food, and basic services amid continued instability in the country.

The expulsions are part of a larger crackdown by Pakistani authorities on illegal migration, primarily targeting Afghans who make up the majority of foreigners living in Pakistan. At least 25,000 Afghans who had worked for the American military, government, international organizations, aid agencies, media outlets, and human rights groups fled to Pakistan in 2021 following the Taliban takeover. They are currently awaiting processing for relocation to the United States.

Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister assured that only migrants in the country illegally would be deported, emphasizing that the 1.4 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan are treated with full respect and safety. However, the waiting Afghans must contend with economic hardships and a lack of access to health, education, and other essential services in Pakistan.

Why this matters: The mass deportations of Afghan migrants from Pakistan highlight the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the challenges faced by those fleeing instability and conflict. The situation underscores the need for international support and cooperation in addressing the plight of Afghan refugees and finding sustainable solutions to the crisis.

Amnesty International had previously called for the immediate cancellation of Pakistan's plan to expel Afghan migrants, arguing that it contradicts international human rights and refugee laws. The Taliban's acting minister of Refugees and Repatriation Affairs urged Pakistan to address the issue of Afghan migrants within the framework of bilateral understanding. However, the repatriation of migrants, refugees, easy political targets from Pakistan and Iran continues to be a complex and unresolved issue, reflecting broader humanitarian dilemmas.

The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, led by the Taliban, reported that 260 Afghan migrants had returned to Kabul from Pakistan, while an additional 2,368 migrants re-entered Afghanistan from Iran via the Torkham and Islam Qala border crossings on the same day. The crackdown on Afghan migrants in Pakistan has led to the return of around 600,000 Afghans since October 2023, with at least a million remaining in hiding, fearing arrest and deportation.

The mass deportations from Pakistan have forced millions of Afghans, including women and children, to return to a country still grappling with the aftermath of decades of war, natural disasters, and economic crisis. Professor Muhammad Zaman, Director of the Center on Forced Displacement at Boston University, explains that blaming outsiders is an easy and convenient way for governments to relieve economic and social pressures without addressing the underlying problems. The expulsions have not significantly improved Pakistan's security or economic situation, despite claims from the government.

Key Takeaways

  • Pakistan deported 838 Afghan migrants, worsening the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
  • Pakistan's crackdown on illegal migration primarily targets Afghans, including those who fled in 2021.
  • Deported Afghans face lack of shelter, food, and services in Afghanistan's ongoing instability.
  • Amnesty International and Taliban urged Pakistan to address the issue within international laws.
  • Mass deportations have forced millions of Afghans to return to a country in crisis.