Juliette Walls, the Assistant Secretary of State, in a meeting with Pakistani authorities, stated that the United States is committed to the protection and resettlement of Afghan refugees in Pakistan who are eligible for transfer to the United States.
She urged Pakistan not to expel 25,000 eligible Afghan refugees. Ms. Walls arrived in Pakistan three days ago to assess the situation of Afghan refugees.
The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, on Wednesday issued a statement to the media, stating that Ms. Walls discussed cooperation between the two countries to expedite the handling of cases of eligible Afghan migrants during her trip with Pakistani authorities.
The statement said that the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State requested Pakistani authorities to adhere to international humanitarian principles, including support for refugees and not returning vulnerable asylum seekers.
Pakistani sources, citing Ms. Walls, reported that the United States is not opposed to the expulsion of undocumented migrants from Pakistan but has requested the country to slow down the expulsion process during the winter season and not expel the 25,000 eligible Afghan refugees due to the existing threats in Afghanistan.
Previously, the U.S. State Department had sent a protection letter to these 25,000 refugees to prevent their expulsion by Pakistani police. Despite this letter and promises from U.S. officials, many Afghan refugees who had this letter in their possession were subjected to harassment and mistreatment by Pakistani police.
During her trip to Pakistan, the U.S. State Department official met with Pakistani authorities and representatives of migrant support organizations, including the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Red Cross Committee, and several Afghan migrants.
According to the statement, the Assistant Secretary of State emphasized her efforts to protect refugees, including those involved in the U.S. migration process, and expedite the handling of their cases.