US pledges to enhance relocation efforts for Afghan refugees

The US State Department has informed Congress of its commitment to expanding its capability to process applications from Afghan refugees stranded in Pakistan.

Commencing in July 2023 on a limited scale, this initiative aims to address the challenges faced by Afghan refugees seeking asylum in Pakistan.

“The State Department continues to collaborate with Pakistan to broaden that processing capacity,” stated a communication sent to Congress earlier this week.

Following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban two years ago, tens of thousands of Afghans entered Pakistan, seeking relocation to the US and other Western destinations.

The United States has evaluated 25,351 Afghan nationals for potential resettlement, with 4,752 individuals already resettled in the country.

In its communication to Congress, the State Department also expressed concerns about the broader human rights landscape in the region.

The report asserted that Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan have been using blasphemy and defamation of religion laws to curb religious freedom, limit the rights of religious minorities, and restrict freedom of expression. This has resulted in the imprisonment of individuals accused under these stringent laws, prompting international concern, the report added.