Over 250,000 Afghans who crossed into neighboring Pakistan illegally have been pressured into returning home with compatriots admitted into the country legally as refugees.
The U.S.-backed Afghan government recently revealed that “around 6,000 Afghan refugees return to the country daily – with most of them coming in from Pakistan,” adding, that “This is the highest seen in 14 years,” according to TOLO News.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post (WaPo) reports:
In the past year, more than 250,000 undocumented Afghan refugees have returned to their impoverished, insurgent-plagued country under pressure from Pakistani authorities. Now, the population of 1.5 million long-settled, registered refugees has been given six months to leave as well…
By early September, more than 260,000 Afghans [both legals and illegals] had been formally repatriated.
So far, most of the returnees have been undocumented refugees, those who had never registered with U.N. officials and lived in Pakistan illegally for years.
In late June, Pakistan argued that Afghan refugee camps were serving as “safe havens for terrorists” due to the unfettered movement of people from Afghanistan into Pakistan.
The complaints came amid intensifying clashes between Afghan and Pakistani security guards over Pakistan erecting a border gate. Relations between both countries have historically been tense. Both accuse one another of sponsoring terrorism.
The Post reports:
For decades, next-door Pakistan has provided a safety valve for Afghans who fled successive periods of conflict and repression, hosting up to 5 million at a time. The reception has not always been enthusiastic, but it has been heavily subsidized by the United Nations, and most refugees have easily blended into the large population of ethnic Pashtuns that historically straddled the border…
They [Afghans] have also been a headache for [Pakistani] security agencies, who often complained that some refugee camps and communities harbored thieves, drugs and armed militants, and that it was impossible to police a population that flowed loosely across the border and in many cases held no official IDs.
The recent Pakistan removals have also intensified as Afghanistan accepts military assistance to fight terrorism from Pakistan’s regional enemy India.
Despite tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent on Afghanistan nation-building since the most recent war in the country started in October 2001, conditions there have convinced many to migrate to other countries, as far as the United States, both legally and illegally.
American taxpayer funds have been used to fuel corruption in Afghanistan, filling the pockets of the very same terrorist groups who are killing and maiming U.S. troops and threatening the overall security and reconstruction mission in the country.
A substantial portion of Afghan migrants went into neighboring countries, such as Iran where they have been exploited by being coerced into fighting and dying alongside forces loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Although the Afghanistan stronghold of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) lies along the Pakistan border and both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban operate on both sides of the border, Afghanistan appears to suffer more terrorist attacks than its neighbor.
Both U.S. and Afghan officials have accused the Pakistani government of willingly providing sanctuary to terrorists. Most U.S. military troops killed in the Afghanistan war have been executed in Afghan provinces that lie along the Pakistan border.
Pakistan has also accused Afghanistan of producing terrorists who have carried out attacks on its soil.
In late 2014, when terrorists invaded a Pakistani military school, killing 141 students and teachers and enraging public opinion, authorities vowed to start sending the refugees back.
The push took many forms, from police harassment to a government publicity campaign, endorsed by officials in Kabul, that urged Afghans to return with the slogan, ‘My home is my flower.’ After refugee leaders protested, departure deadlines were postponed several times, but the trickle of returnees swelled to tens of thousands early this year, especially after the United Nations added an extra cash bonus for each family once they resettled in Afghanistan.