Islamabad to resume deportation of undocumented Afghan migrants within two days

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

ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani government is set to resume the deportation of undocumented Afghan migrants within the next two days, marking the second phase of its policy aimed at the expulsion of Afghan nationals.

This decision has elicited strong reactions from the international community and the Taliban. Afghan refugees in Pakistan have also expressed concerns, indicating that the deportation will expose thousands to serious threats upon their return to Afghanistan.

Pakistani media, citing official sources, reported that the second phase of the deportation is expected to commence shortly.

Mahjabin Frozan, an Afghan migrant in Pakistan, shared her fears about the impending deportations. “A large number of Afghan citizens have sought refuge in Pakistan due to security threats. Their forced return could once again endanger their lives under Taliban rule,” she stated.

Nafisa Hassani, another Afghan migrant, appealed to the Pakistani government to reconsider its stance in light of Afghanistan’s volatile security environment. “We urge the Pakistani government to rethink this decision considering the dire security situation in Afghanistan,” she said.

Previously, Pakistani police used loudspeakers to instruct migrants to leave the country. Human rights advocates and journalists have urged Pakistan’s new administration to halt the deportation process and to approach the situation with a genuine understanding of Afghanistan’s security and political challenges.

“After August 2021, a significant influx of Afghan citizens into Pakistan has been recorded. The deportation could lead thousands to face severe security threats back home,” explained Sanam Kabiri, a human rights activist.

Analysts suggest that the current migrant policy reflects underlying political tensions between Islamabad and the Taliban, emphasizing that the treatment of Afghan migrants should adhere to international migration laws.

“International organizations should pressure Pakistan to stop the forced deportations. If implemented, this policy might lead to a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan,” warned Abdul Razzaq Adil, a migration awareness advocate.

Officials have also indicated that even documented migrants might be deported in this phase, further intensifying concerns.

Amnesty International has previously highlighted that the forced deportation policy could jeopardize the safety of approximately 800,000 individuals returning to Afghanistan.