More than 6,500 Afghan nationals departed Pakistan via the Torkham border on Sunday, raising the total number of repatriated Afghans to over 170,000, as reported by border officials.
The departure is part of a voluntary evacuation following the government’s ultimatum for all unregistered foreign nationals to leave Pakistan by October 31. Officials noted that since September 17, a total of 174,358 Afghan nationals have returned to Afghanistan, with the daily numbers gradually decreasing.
According to official records, on Sunday alone, 6,584 Afghans, including women and children, exited Pakistan. The previous day saw the deportation of 209 prisoners from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, along with thousands of other Afghan nationals. The repatriation numbers have been consistent over the past few days, with many families, men, women, and children leaving Pakistan.
Government’s Role and International Concerns
The Pakistani government has assured Afghan families that it will cover all expenses related to their repatriation. In instances where Afghan nationals, particularly in Nowshera, were willing but financially unable to return, the district administration intervened. They provided transportation and other necessary assistance, ensuring that these families could return to Afghanistan safely.
However, the government’s actions have drawn criticism from political leaders and social activists. Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Chairman of the Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), described the refoulement of Afghan refugees as a breach of international humanitarian norms and Pakistan’s naturalization laws. He also raised concerns about the impact of blanket restrictions on cross-border movement, particularly on Pakhtuns living near the border areas. He reported incidents of Pakhtuns from Pakistan being wrongfully apprehended during the crackdown.