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HomeFeatured StoriesWhy is Pakistan planning to deport undocumented Afghans?

Why is Pakistan planning to deport undocumented Afghans?


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 Pakistan’s government has announced that all undocumented migrants and refugees must leave Pakistan by the beginning of next month, either voluntarily or by force.

Hundreds of thousands of them are Afghans. Citing a rising number of violent attacks, caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said on Tuesday that “14 out of 24” suicide bombings this year were carried out by Afghan nationals.

“We have given them a deadline of November 1,” Bugti said, adding that nearly 4.4 million Afghan refugees live in the country – more than 1.7 million illegally.

Here’s what you need to know about the government’s decision:

Why is the government doing this?

Pakistan has seen a dramatic surge in violence this year with the majority of attacks occurring in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the southwestern province of Balochistan, both of which border Afghanistan.

The government has repeatedly alleged that the Afghan Taliban is giving safe harbour to fighters belonging to the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is ideologically aligned with the Afghan Taliban.

Since the TTP’s decision to renege on a peace accord with the Pakistani government in November, the group has launched more than 300 attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province alone this year.

The frequency and intensity of the attacks have been increasing. The two latest attacks in Balochistan’s Mastung city and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Hangu city last month killed more than 60 people and wounded dozens.

Kabul, for its part, has denied the allegations, saying security concerns in Pakistan have nothing to do with Afghans.

How has Afghanistan responded to the decision?

The interim Afghan government led by the Taliban gave a stinging rebuke of Pakistan’s announcement, calling it “unacceptable”.

Government spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Wednesday responded to Bugti’s remarks, urging the Pakistani government to “reconsider the decision“.

Afghan refugees are not involved in Pakistan’s security problems, he said on X, formerly known as Twitter, adding that Pakistan “should tolerate them”.

Pakistan sent a high-level delegation to Kabul for negotiations, the second such visit this year, and urged the Afghan Taliban to improve border controls.

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