The International Organization for Migration announced on Monday that more than 500,000 Afghans have left Pakistan within four months, which issued an alert last November for the return of illegal immigrants to their country.
About 500,200 Afghans returned home between September 15 and January 13, according to the International Organization for Migration, most of them through the Torkham and Spin Boldak border sites.
Islamabad set a deadline of November 1 for the departure of 1.7 million illegal Afghan refugees.
The majority of returning Afghans crossed the border before November 1, fearing arrest in Pakistan.
“Since the initial peak around 1 November, the number of individuals crossing the border has declined steadily, but remains higher than before 15 September,” the IOM wrote.
From January 1 to 13, about 10,000 Afghans returned to their country, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Some Afghans who crossed the border have lived decades, or even their entire lives, in Pakistan.
Millions of Afghans have sought refuge in Pakistan in recent decades to escape conflicts.
Among them, about 600,000 Afghans left their country due to the return to power of the Taliban in Kabul in August 2021, which imposed a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
When they arrive in Afghanistan, the migrants, who are often extremely destitute, receive modest assistance from the government and UN agencies.
But they have to start their lives from scratch in a country with a weak economy, high unemployment, and facing a serious humanitarian crisis that the winter will make worse.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (MANOA) said in a report published on Monday that “the (Afghan) authorities responded to the influx of a large number of Afghans professionally.”
This was achieved “despite a lack of resources (from the state), both at border crossings and in the areas and provinces visited by new arrivals.”
Agence France-Presse in Torkham reported that the returning Afghans, after registering when crossing the border, received amounts that allowed the family to live for one month, in addition to money to transport them to the province of their choice.
However, the UN fears that “some Afghans forced to return are at risk of persecution, arbitrary detention and/or torture or ill-treatment.”
Manoa refers in particular to “media personnel, civil society activists, female human rights lawyers, former government officials or former members of the armed or security forces.”
Published on January 22 at 1:43 pm, Agence France-Presse
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