Gul Ahmed, an Afghan refugee boy, who was affected by the closure of the Ghazi Amanullah Khan High School for Afghan refguees, works at a shop in Karachi, Pakistan, 26 September 2023 (issued 27 September 2023). EFE-EPA FILE/SHAHZAIB AKBER

Afghanistan to build camp for returning refugees after Pakistan ultimatum

Kabul, Oct 5 (EFE).- The Taliban are planning to establish a camp for Afghan refugees who may return from Pakistan after Islamabad ordered all undocumented immigrants and refugees in its territory to go back to their countries by the end of this month or face forcible deportation.

A staff of the Ghazi Amanullah Khan High School for Afghan refugees tours the school as it was closed due to shortage of funding, in Karachi, Pakistan, 26 September 2023 (issued 27 September 2023). EFE-EPA FILE/SHAHZAIB AKBER

“Those families which are headed by women or are homeless, or do not have anyone to take care of them, the Islamic Emirate will provide them short-term shelter,” the spokesperson for the Afghan ministry of refugees and repatriation, Abdul Mutalib Haqqani, told EFE

The camp will be established in the Lalpor desert in the Nangarhar province – which borders Pakistan – and aims to provide temporary shelter and basic necessities including food to thousands of families who could return from Pakistan in the coming weeks.

The initiative comes after Pakistani authorities announced on Tuesday that the undocumented immigrants and refugees in the country – mainly Afghans – should leave the country before Nov. 1 or face deportation.

The Taliban had called the decision “unacceptable” and insisted that Afghan refugees are “not involved in Pakistan’s security problems,”.

According to Pakistani authorities, an estimated 4.4 million Afghans are currently living in the Pakistan, out of which 1.42 million possess proof of registration and 850,000 hold Afghan citizen cards.

The remaining 1.73 million have been dubbed “illegal” unregistered immigrants by Islamabad.

An Estimated 150,000 Afghan refugees have returned to their native country from Pakistan through the main border crossing of Torkham over the past two years, according to official data.

The process has sped up in recent days, with over 23,000 families returning within the past 10-20 days following a crackdown against refugees by Pakistani authorities, according to Afghan officials.

Afghan refugees are one of the world’s largest and oldest displaced population, which began to trickle into Pakistani territory during the Soviet invasion of 1979, while subsequent wars and conflicts accelerated the exodus.

The Taliban’s ascent to power in Afghanistan has coincided with a fresh surge in violence and terrorist attacks in Pakistan linked with various armed groups, including the TTP and the Islamic State.

Pakistan had witnessed a drop in attacks and violence during the previous regime in Kabul, which was backed by the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan. EFE