UN reports over half a million Afghan migrants expelled from Pakistan

A group of Afghan migrants in border near Pakistan. November 2023. File Photo.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 508,000 Afghan refugees have been deported from Pakistan in recent months.

These organizations are working to address the needs of these returnees but urgently require funds for sustainable solutions, including support for host communities.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Friday, Dec. 13, that 84% of these individuals were returned to Afghanistan in the last quarter of 2023.

The report indicates that 56% of the returnees are living with their dependents, 20% have rented housing in Afghanistan, 18% have returned to their own homes, and 6% are living in uncertainty.

Factors driving the return of these migrants from Pakistan include the lack of living facilities, fear of arrest by Pakistani police, and restrictions on renting properties to Afghan immigrants.

In early October last year, Pakistan issued an ultimatum to all undocumented immigrants, including 1.7 million Afghan citizens, to leave the country within a month or face arrest and deportation.

In the most recent wave of deportations, the Pakistani government expelled nearly 2,700 Afghan immigrants.

This mass return of migrants from Pakistan has heightened concerns about their welfare amid the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, especially with the onset of winter.