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Turkey deports thousands of Afghans , following Pakistan, Iran

AT News

KABUL – In a trend echoing similar moves by Pakistan and Iran, Turkey has escalated the deportation of Afghan migrants, with nearly 4,000 individuals repatriated in recent weeks. This surge in expulsions aligns with a broader regional pattern, as both Pakistan and Iran have collectively repatriated an estimated 400,000 Afghans over the past month.

Over the weekend, Turkish authorities confirmed the deportation of approximately 3,900 Afghans to Kabul through special flights. Reports from deportees highlight the challenging circumstances they faced, including allegations of mistreatment. A former Afghan Army soldier, who had sought refuge in Turkey 18 months prior, recounted being arrested in Istanbul and subjected to physical abuse. He disclosed, “We were then detained in a camp for two months in the city of Bursa. Many young Afghans who were soldiers were also forcefully expelled alongside me.”

Another deportee, Milad, described a difficult land journey through Iran after being expelled from Turkey earlier this month. He expressed the hardships faced during the return, stating, “On our way back, we were beaten a lot. We didn’t have proper food to eat.”

The deteriorating living conditions under the Taliban regime have prompted many Afghan migrants to seek refuge elsewhere. Turkey, hosting one of the world’s largest refugee communities, with 3.6 million Syrians and over 300,000 people from various nationalities, has become a significant destination. Some Afghans settle in Turkey seeking shelter and employment, while others view it as a stepping stone to neighboring countries, particularly Greece and other European Union nations.

According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, Turkey is home to a substantial Afghan refugee population. In 2022, Turkey deported around 50,000 Afghans, drawing criticism from Human Rights Watch. The watchdog accused Ankara of routinely pushing tens of thousands of Afghans, including many undocumented individuals, back to its border with Iran or deporting them directly to Afghanistan without adequate examination of their claims for international protection.

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