Taliban on Pakistan expulsion threat to Afghan immigrants: 'Unacceptable'

Oct 04, 2023 04:13 PM IST

"The behavior of Pakistan towards Afghan refugees is unacceptable," Zabihullah Mujahid said.

A spokesman for the Taliban administration said that Pakistan's threat to forcibly expel illegal Afghan immigrants is “unacceptable”, adding that Afghans cannot be blamed for Pakistan's security problems. Pakistan's caretaker government set a November 1 deadline for Afghan immigrants to leave or face forcible expulsion saying that there were 1.73 million Afghan immigrants living in Pakistan without any legal status.

A dark street in a commercial area in Lahore, Pakistan.(Bloomberg)
A dark street in a commercial area in Lahore, Pakistan.(Bloomberg)

"The behavior of Pakistan towards Afghan refugees is unacceptable," Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Taliban administration in Kabul, said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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"The Pakistani side should reconsider its plan. Afghan refugees are not involved in Pakistan's security problems. As long as they leave Pakistan voluntarily, that country should tolerate them," Zabihullah Mujahid said rejecting the claim made by Pakistan's interior minister Sarfraz Bugti that Afghan nationals had carried out 14 out of 24 suicide bombings in Pakistan this year.

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Pakistan's ultimatum to the immigrants came after a meeting of civil and military leaders to review the law and order situation following two suicide bombings on Friday that killed at least 57 people. Sarfraz Bugti said that one of the suicide bombers was an Afghan national.

"If they do not go... then all the law enforcement agencies in the provinces or federal government will be utilized to deport them," he said.

Much of the Afghan-Pakistan border runs through rugged mountain terrain which is difficult to fully control but Pakistani forces have already carried out numerous operations against militants in the regions. Millions of Afghans have entered Pakistan over the years, following successive wars and authoritarian regimes. Some 600,000 arrived since August 2021, DW reported.

The Afghan embassy said that 1,000 Afghans had been detained in the past two weeks, adding that, “despite the repeated promises of the Pakistan authorities, the arrest and harassment of Afghan refugees by the police in Pakistan continues.”

Sarfraz Bugti also announced that from November 1, Afghans would only be able to enter the country with valid passports and visas.

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