Politics, Asia - Pacific

Afghan acting defense minister slams Pakistan's decision to evict refugees

Latest statement from Kabul follows media reports saying Islamabad police launched operation to check illegal immigrants and arrested over 500 people

Islamuddin Sajid  | 05.10.2023 - Update : 05.10.2023
Afghan acting defense minister slams Pakistan's decision to evict refugees


Afghanistan protested again on Thursday against Pakistan's decision to deport undocumented immigrants from the country, with Taliban acting Defense Minister Mawlavi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid calling Islamabad's decision to set a Nov. 1 deadline "cruel and barbarism."

"International refugee advocates and organizations stand firm for the rights of refugees," Mujahid was quoted as saying at an event in Kabul by the state-run Bakhtar News Agency, who criticized Pakistan's decision as "cruel and barbaric behavior against Afghan refugees."

The latest statement from Kabul follows media reports published on Thursday saying that Islamabad police launched an operation to check illegal immigrants and arrested over 500 people.

Mujahid urged wealthy Afghan refugees living in Pakistan to transfer their wealth to Afghanistan and help develop their own country.

Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch during a weekly press briefing in Islamabad said "Pakistan will continue to host legal Afghan immigrants. The eviction plan is only for illegal immigrants."

Now the situation in Afghanistan has stabilized, it is time to create a conducive environment for the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees with honor and dignity, she said.

In explaining her government's recent decision to evict undocumented foreigners beginning next month, she said Pakistan is a sovereign country that will act in accordance with the law.

Pakistan's recent decision is not directed at Afghan refugees or any specific nationality, she said, adding that the decision is “against illegal migrants regardless of nationality."

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistani caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said the government has given all foreigners living illegally in Pakistan until Nov. 1 to leave the country.

After the deadline, he said, all the illegal immigrants would be deported.

On Wednesday, Balochistan caretaker Information Minister Jan Achakzai said after the deadline, the government will seize the properties and businesses of illegal foreigners.

In response to the two announcements, the Taliban interim administration's spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, stated on Wednesday on social media platform X, “The behavior of Pakistan against Afghan refugees is unacceptable. The Pakistani side should reconsider its plan. Afghan refugees are not involved in Pakistan's security problems. As long as they leave Pakistan voluntarily, that country should tolerate them."

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