Pakistan

Over 165,000 Afghans Leave Pakistan Fearing Deportation

More than 165,000 Afghan nationals have left Pakistan in the past two months, as the country prepares to deport all undocumented foreigners by November 1. The Pakistani government says the move is necessary for security reasons, as it accuses some Afghans of being involved in terrorist attacks. However, many Afghans say they have been living in Pakistan for decades and have nowhere to go back to.

The BBC reported that some Afghans have been arrested and harassed by the police, despite having valid identity cards issued by the Pakistani authorities. Others have been forced to abandon their homes and businesses, and sell their belongings at low prices. Many of them are heading to the border crossings of Torkham and Chaman, where they face long queues and uncertainty about their future.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has expressed concern over the situation, and urged Pakistan to respect the rights and dignity of the refugees. It said that more than 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees are still living in Pakistan, and should not be affected by the deportation order. It also called for more international support for Afghanistan, which is facing a humanitarian crisis after the Taliban takeover.

Some Afghans who have returned to their country told Al Jazeera that they have nothing left there, and fear for their lives under the Taliban rule. They said they would try to come back to Pakistan or seek refuge in another country. Some of them blamed the Pakistani government for being cruel and ungrateful, after they had contributed to its economy and society for years.

Pakistan has been hosting millions of Afghan refugees and migrants since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. It has repeatedly asked them to return to their country, but many of them have stayed due to insecurity and poverty in Afghanistan. The latest deportation drive comes amid a surge in violence in Pakistan, which the government blames on Afghanistan-based groups and nationals. The Afghan Taliban have denied any involvement in the attacks.

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