Taliban acknowledges human rights issues as cause for Afghan migrations

On World Migrants Day, Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s economic deputy chief minister, acknowledged the plight of Afghan migrants, attributing some migrations to the deprivation of human rights.

While speaking in Kabul on Monday, he claimed they have managed the return of migrants effectively.

“The perpetrators of this violence against the people of Afghanistan did not achieve their goal. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was able to properly manage the return of migrants,” he said.

Sayera, an Afghan returnee, described her harrowing experience of migration. With her disabled husband and two children, she faced hunger and harsh conditions during her migration and now struggles in Kabul’s Sroubi district camp. Recently deported from Pakistan, her family battles illness due to cold weather.

“We didn’t have an immigration card; the police threatened us,” Sayera recounted. “My husband is ill, my children are sick, and we lack basic necessities. We are left hungry and helpless.”

Members of the “Purple Saturdays Movement” highlighted that many Afghans have fled due to fear of arrest, torture, and retaliation by the Taliban. United Nations data indicates that over 1.5 million people have migrated from Afghanistan to neighboring countries since August 2021.

A movement member, a former soldier, shared his ordeal of having to leave Afghanistan due to Taliban threats. He called for attention to Afghan migrants and prevention of forced deportations.

The United Nations High Commissioner reports that 1.6 million Afghan citizens have migrated to Iran, Pakistan, and two Central Asian countries since August 2021. In two years, Iran received one million immigrants, Pakistan 600,000, Uzbekistan 13,200, and Tajikistan 6,125.

Mohammad, an Afghan returnee from Iran, appealed to the Taliban to halt deportations from Iran, citing risks of death and harassment during return. Ahmad Shakib, expelled from Iran, described mistreatment in Turkish and Iranian camps.

In November, Pakistan initiated the deportation of Afghan immigrants. The United Nations states that over 465,000 people have returned or been deported to Afghanistan from Pakistan since Islamabad’s decision.

Amnesty International reports that many migrants fled due to fear of the Taliban, warning that forced deportations put lives at risk.