The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Repatriation of Afghan refugees from neighboring countries continues

Afghan refugees in Pakistan walk towards the Pakistan-Afghanistan Torkham border on November 3, 2023, following Pakistan's government decision to expel people illegally staying in the country. More than 165,000 Afghans have fled Pakistan since Islamabad issued an ultimatum to 1.7 million people a month ago to leave or face arrest and deportation, officials said on November 2. (Photo by Abdul MAJEED / AFP)

The repatriation process of Afghan refugees, which began months ago from Pakistan, has reached a significant milestone as the total number of Afghan refugees returning to the country from neighboring Pakistan has now surpassed 500,000, with the return process continuing as before. According to reports, from January 30 to February 2, 2024, a total of 2,956 Afghans, comprising 865 men, 793 women, and 1,298 children, made their journey back to Afghanistan. The repatriation has seen 148 families being transported in 121 vehicles, marking a coordinated effort to ensure a smooth return for those choosing to return back to their home country. Meanwhile, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has said that over 500,000 Afghans have returned to Afghanistan since November last year after Pakistan announced the deportation of undocumented migrants from its soil. The UN agency on its X account wrote: “In Jan 2024, the number of Afghans returning from Pakistan surpassed 500,000, with 84% of those returning in the last quarter of 2023.” The agency added: “Partners are responding to their needs, but funds are urgently required for the sustainable solutions, including for host communities.” According to the facts and figures provided by the UNOCHA 324,700 Afghans returned via Torkham and 172,600 returned to the country via Spinboldak. 1,500 people had returned via Badini and 9,300 people returned to the country via Ghulam Khan. Of the returning individuals were 48 percent female and 52 percent male. On the other hand, the World Food Program (WFP) recently disclosed in reports that Afghan refugees, forcibly tortured and expelled from Pakistan, are resorting to borrowing money just to survive. In a video clip released last week on Thursday, the organization highlighted that over half a million Afghan migrants have been forcibly deported by the Pakistani government in nearly five months. The agency emphasized that Afghan refugees are now compelled to borrow money merely to sustain themselves, lacking any facilities or support. The World Food Program (WFP) emphasized that some of these returning Afghan refugees are still experiencing hunger and, above all, require food assistance. Earlier, the United Nations had repeatedly called on Pakistan to halt the deportation exercise. The Pakistani government’s action sparked concerns regarding the treatment and rights of these refugees in Pakistan. Pakistani officials continued their actions despite facing condemnation and calls to stop the forceful deportation of Afghan migrants. Since Pakistan and Iran announced forced deportation of Afghan refugees from their countries last October, the Islamic Emirate has started efforts to address issues of repatriating Afghan refugees as their issues have been repeatedly discussed in meetings of the cabinet of the Islamic Emirate (IEA). A special committee has been also formed to properly address the issues of returning Afghan refugees in bordering areas. Besides, special camps have been set up in Kandahar’s Spin Boldak and Nangarhar’s Torkham to welcome and receive returning Afghan refugees. The Islamic Emirate’s policy towards Afghan immigrants has been kind and compassionate from the beginning until now. The IEA leadership has always asked its citizens not to leave the country for neighboring and western countries. They also asked the Afghans living abroad to return to the country. S.Raqib

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.