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Taliban slams Pakistan’s riot order on refugees, calls expulsion ‘inhumane, unfair and barbaric’

"Brutality and barbarism of Pakistan against Afghan refugees is unbearable..": Afghan Defence Minister Mullah Yaqoob

The Taliban interim government in Afghanistan has slammed Pakistan’s decsion to expel refugees as  “inhumane, unfair and barbaric”.

Interim Defence Minister, Mullah Yaqub Mujahid, also said that Islamabad’s decision will adversly impact bilateral relations, make the bilateral relations difficult and bad, he added.

Earlier the Taliban interim government had urged Islamabad to “tolerate” refugees unless they leave voluntarily. Pakistan has set November 1 deadline for refugees to leave on their own volition or face instant deportation.

Islamabad’s stern stance is also being seen as a pressure tactic to push the Afghan Taliban to restrict activities of Pakistani Taliban who have mounted attacks on its armed forces and civilians. Besides, Islamabad alleges that Afghan nationals are involved in terror attacks and drug smuggling.

Taliban government spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, on X said that the behaviour of Pakistan towards Afghan refugees is unacceptable, and he called on Islamabad to reconsider “its plan.”

“Afghan refugees are not involved in Pakistan’s security problems,” Mujahid said. “As long as they leave Pakistan voluntarily, that country should tolerate them.”

On Tuesday, the Pakistani Interior Minister, Sarfraz Bugti, said they have given Afghan refugees a November 1 deadline to leave, claiming 14 of 24 suicide bombings in the country this year were carried out by Afghan nationals.

Bugti said around 1.73 million Afghan nationals in Pakistan had no legal documents to stay, adding a total of 4.4 million Afghan refugees lived in Pakistan.

Based on official statistics 150,000 Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan via Torkham crossing over the past two-years.
Meanwhile, a post on a X account in the name of China’s ambassador to Kabul, Zhao Xing,
was doing rounds on the social media. It had a very cryptic message for Pakistan. “Pakistan’s wrongful treatment of Afghan refugees is against human rights and good neighborliness. We call on the government of Pakistan to stop this policy. We also call on human rights organizations to encourage Pakistan to stop this behavior,” it said.

Pressure Tactics

Even since Afghan refugees began to pour into Pakistan in 1980’s, they have faced hostility at the hands of their hosts. Since then, there have been 7-8 big attempts to deport them. “However, they all fizzled out after Kabul and Islamabad developed some understanding,” recalled Wusatullah Khan, former BBC journalist who covered Afghan jihad and reported extensively on the plight of Afghan refugees living along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

“It’s like ‘Albert Pinto ko gussa aaya’. Pakistani rulers brim with anger from time to time. This time the trigger is alleged involvement of Afghan nationals in a terror attack in Pakistan. However, the interim government hasn’t made it clear whether these Afghans are joining ranks of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or Islamic State of Khorasan. These two groups are majorly active in Pakistan and most of their cadres are Pakistanis,” he added.

Khan laso questioned the Pakistani government’s alibi to throw out Afghans – illegal stay with illegal documents. “Who provides these Afghans with Pakistani documents to stay here? Obviously Pakistanis. Even slain Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was found to be having a Pakistani passport. This is the status of official affairs in this country,” he said.

Khan thinks that the current Pakistani anger against Afghans will disappear once some foreign group or Afghan Taliban will grease the palm of Pakistanis.

But Khan’s contemporary Zarrar Khuhro, another senior journalist, says that expelling Afghan refugees is the last resort with the Pakistani government to pressurise Afghan Taliban to torpedo the tornado of attacks by TTP and ISIS(K). “In games that Pakistan and Afghanistan are playing, refugees become a tool. It is yet to be seen how useful such a tool is for Pakistan,” he said.

Camp for Returning Refugees in Nangarhar

Prominent Afghan portal Tolo News reported on Thursday that a camp is being established in the Lalapor district of Nangarhar province to manage the newly returning refugees from Pakistan.

The main crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan is located in Nangarhar

“The families which are headed by women or do not have a shelter or do not have anyone to take care of them, they will be provided with transportation. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants to make a camp for them in Lalpor desert,” Tolo quoted Fazal Bari Fazli, a member of the Afghan government delegation to Nangarhar.

Meanwhile, the residents of Nangarhar called on the Pakistani government to stop harassing the Afghan refugees.