18,700 refugees enter Afghanistan in early 2024: Report

According to a report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 18,700 refugees have entered Afghanistan from January to March 2024, with 99% coming from Pakistan.

The report indicates a decrease in the number of returns compared to the last quarter of 2023, although there is an increasing trend when compared to the same period the previous year. In early 2023, about 1,400 refugee returns were recorded.

The UN attributes the increase in returns to Pakistan’s decision in October 2023 to deport undocumented refugees. Factors influencing refugees’ decisions to return include fear of arrest, deportation, abuse by police or other state authorities, uncertainties surrounding the extension of Proof of Registration (PoR) cards, the limited protection value of these cards, and night raids.

The report also highlights that 61% of returnees cited harassment by the Pakistani military as a primary concern.

In the first quarter of 2024, 88% of returns occurred in five main Afghan provinces: 49% to Nangarhar, 15% to Kabul, 13% to Laghman, 8% to Kandahar, and 3% to Kunduz. Additionally, the report notes that over 2% of the individuals assisted have disabilities.