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‘Around 2m migrants returned home voluntarily’

AT-KABUL: The government claims that some two million migrants have voluntarily returned home from neighboring and other countries. “From this number, 500,000 have returned just this year,” said Sayed Hossain Alemi Balkhi, minister of refugees and repatriates.

He said that compulsory expelling of Afghan refugees was prevented in the European countries, adding that 1.2 million undocumented migrants in Iran and Pakistan were registered.

“Currently, there are two million Afghan migrants in Pakistan, more than two million in Iran and 1.6 million in Europe, America, Australia and Arab states,” said Balkhi, who was speaking on the occasion of the International Migrants Day.

The minister said that there had been discussions with Iranian and Pakistani authorities to convince them stop expelling Afghan migrants compulsorily.

Two million Afghan migrants are still without documents in Iran and Pakistan.

“Germany and other European countries were supposed to deport 100,000 Afghan refugees this year. But we convinced them not to do so.”

So far, some 1,300 Afghan refugees have been deported from Europe. The European Union donated 80 million Euros to help Afghan repatriates this year, while it is said to increase the amount to 124 million Euros in 2018, according to Balkhi.

Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah said that helping the migrants and internally displaced people was in the government’s priority.

A UN official in Afghanistan called on the government to provide the repatriates with shelter, healthcare and education services.

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