The resurgence of the Taliban has ushered in a host of repercussions, with one prominent outcome being the mass exodus of Afghan citizens over the last two years.
The primary destination for migrants, apart from regional countries, has been countries like the United States, Canada, European countries, and Australia.
However, refugees’ stay in regional countries has been prolonged due to the slow acceptance or lengthy acceptance processes, primarily in the United States.
Recent reports from Pakistan indicate that the total number of Afghan citizens in this country has exceeded 3.7 million, with about 600,000 individuals having gone to Pakistan in the two years following the return of the Taliban from Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s newspaper, Dawn, citing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), reported that the number of Afghan refugees in Pakistan reached 3.5 million in June 2023.
Qaisar Khan Afridi, the spokesperson for this commission, stated that in addition to new migrants, approximately 1.3 million other refugees have also received identity cards from the government of Pakistan.
Refugees in Pakistan face numerous challenges, including the risk of detention, extortion, abuse, and expulsion. The identity cards distributed by the Pakistani government and the United Nations are either expired or, in many cases, ignored by the Pakistani police.
Between September 9 and September 13, law enforcement agencies in Karachi arrested over 540 refugees without legal status, per official reports from Dawn.com. The actual number may be even higher as the crackdown extended until Monday.
Earlier, Afghan refugee community leaders convened in Karachi’s Al-Asif Square, urging the government and the chief justice to stop the refugee crackdown for humanitarian reasons.
Haji Abdullah Bukhari, an Afghan refugee community leader, informed Dawn.com that police have been arresting community members, including those with PoR cards and ACCs, and sometimes releasing them only after taking bribes. In response to Governor Tessori’s comments about undocumented refugees, Bukhari proposed a six-month grace period for these refugees to organize a dignified return to their homeland.
Afghan refugees displayed their PoR cards and ACCs during a meeting last week.
Pakistan and Afghanistan’s southern neighbour are grappling with a significant influx of Afghan refugees, but Iran and Tajikistan, Afghanistan’s western and northern neighbours, are also dealing with this crisis.