Pakistan deports 639,000 Afghan migrants since last September: IOM

Afghan returnees in Afghanistan. Photo: WFP

Pakistan has deported over 639,000 Afghans since it began expelling undocumented immigrants on September 15, according to new figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

On October 3, Pakistan’s national Apex Committee approved a plan to repatriate over a million foreigners without valid documents, primarily targeting Afghans, and set a deadline for their departure by November 1.

“Since September 15, over 639,000 Afghans have returned to Afghanistan, with more than 148,000 returning in 2024,” the IOM reported.

Most of the deported individuals have resettled in Nangarhar (28%), Kabul (18%), Kandahar (15%), Kunduz (8%), Laghman (5%), and other provinces, according to IOM data.

Returns have been steadily increasing since March, with May showing the highest numbers for 2024, with around 40,000 individuals returning, significantly more than in April, the IOM noted.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has assisted approximately 98,100 individuals, including over 60,000 Proof of Registration cardholders.

The last two weeks saw a 13 percent decrease in the reported rate of arrest and detention of Afghans compared to the previous two weeks, the report added.

Many returning refugees face dire economic and living conditions in Afghanistan due to a lack of jobs and shelter.