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Amid political standoff, Pakistan steps up crackdown on Afghan refugees

AT News

KABUL – Amid the ongoing political tensions between Kabul and Islamabad, Afghan refugees in Pakistan find themselves caught in the crossfire as they complain of mistreatment by the country’s police. Pakistani authorities have once again intensified efforts to detain refugees from Afghanistan, marking a concerning turn of events six days after border clashes erupted between border forces on both sides of the crossing.

Pakistani media reported on Monday that Pakistani police have detained approximately 50 refugees from Afghanistan, with a significant number of arrests taking place in Karachi and other urban centers. This crackdown has sent shockwaves through the Afghan refugee community living in Pakistan.

Many refugees residing in Pakistan have voiced their concerns, citing serious financial difficulties and escalating fears due to the latest wave of detentions. Zahir Entizar, an Afghan refugee, expressed his worries, stating, “A lot of Afghans have been arrested, and these arrests continue. If the situation continues like this, the problems of migrants will increase.”

Tamim, another Afghan migrant in Pakistan, shared his perspective, saying, “Extending visas in Pakistan has become very difficult. Many of our people in Pakistan are facing economic difficulties.”

Pakistan’s interim interior minister, Sarfraz Bugti, has defended the crackdown on Afghan refugees, emphasizing measures to address illegal immigration in his country. He stated, “We have made a policy, and the cabinet will probably approve it next week, under which, just like in other countries, we will only accept legal individuals. But illegal individuals from anywhere will be returned.”

This move is seen as part of Pakistan’s efforts to regulate its borders and immigration policies more strictly. However, it has raised concerns about the fate of Afghan refugees who have sought shelter in Pakistan for years.

According to the Taliban’s ministry of refugees and repatriations, more than seven million refugees from Afghanistan are currently living in Iran and Pakistan. The collapse of the Afghan republic led to a significant exodus, with thousands seeking refuge in neighboring Pakistan.

As the political standoff between Afghanistan and Pakistan continues, the fate of Afghan refugees remains uncertain. The international community closely watches these developments, hoping for a peaceful resolution that ensures the well-being of the displaced Afghan population.

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