Taliban govt urges Pakistan to ‘reconsider’ drive to expel illegal Afghan immigrants

A Pakistani soldier checks documents of people arriving from Afghanistan at the Friendship Gate crossing point in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan August 27, 2021.—Reuters
A Pakistani soldier checks documents of people arriving from Afghanistan at the Friendship Gate crossing point in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan August 27, 2021.—Reuters 
  • Pakistan had set Nov 1 deadline for Afghan immigrants to leave. 
  • Afghans not involved in Pakistan’s security problems, Taliban says.
  • Interior minister Bugti claims Afghans behind 14 bombings in 2023.

Taliban administration in Kabul on Wednesday said that they strongly condemn Pakistan’s threat to forcibly expel illegal Afghan immigrants saying “Afghan refugees are not involved in Pakistan’s security problems.”  

Pakistan’s caretaker government had set a November 1 deadline for approximately 1.73 million Afghan immigrants residing in the country without legal status to leave or face forced expulsion, citing security concerns.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Taliban administration in Kabul, expressed their disapproval on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter). 

He emphasised that Afghans should not be held responsible for Pakistan’s security issues.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti had alleged that Afghan nationals were responsible for 14 out of 24 suicide bombings in Pakistan this year, using this as a justification for the crackdown. 

However, the Taliban spokesman rebuffed this claim, asserting, “The Pakistani side should reconsider its plan. Afghan refugees are not involved in Pakistan’s security problems. As long as they leave Pakistan voluntarily, that country should tolerate them.”

The ultimatum issued by Pakistan to Afghan immigrants, many of whom have been living in the country for years, followed a meeting of civil and military leaders to assess the law and order situation, prompted by two suicide bombings that claimed the lives of at least 57 people. 

Bugti alleged that one of the suicide bombers was an Afghan national and also accused India’s intelligence agency of involvement.

Relations between the Taliban and the Pakistan government have deteriorated, with border clashes leading to the temporary closure of the main trade route between the two countries last month. 

Islamabad has accused militants of using Afghan territory to train fighters and plan attacks within Pakistan, but the Taliban denies these allegations, insisting that Pakistan’s security issues originate domestically.

Pakistan’s caretaker government, established in August to navigate the country through upcoming elections, has faced increased military influence due to the prevailing uncertainty and instability in the nation.

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