Conflicts & War

Pakistan keeps borders shut for Afghan refugees

Islamabad, Aug 17 (EFE).- Pakistan has closed its border for Afghan refugees, officials said on Tuesday, as thousands of people try to escape that country after the Taliban takeover.

“The border is open as usual, but only for those with valid visa or a resident card issued for Afghan refugees (living in Pakistan),” a security official at the Chaman crossing point told EFE, requesting anonymity.

The official, however, said that not many refugees from Afghanistan were on the border waiting to cross over into Pakistan.

“Maybe a few families are there,” he said, adding the officials have told them “they cannot enter without a visa.”

Khyber district chief Mansoor Arshad said border restrictions were already in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

People from Afghanistan are not allowed to cross over.

The Afghans in Pakistan are also not permitted to return home from the Torkham border, the largest of the five crossing points between the two countries in terms of pedestrian movement.

The official said the border was calm, and no incident occurred since the Taliban took over in Afghanistan.

The refugees are worried about their friends and family back in Afghanistan.

They are uncertain whether they would be allowed to live in Pakistan if the government reached an agreement with the Taliban.

But no one wants to go back to the war-devastated country.

Haji Gul, an Afghan refugee in Islamabad for 35 years, told EFE that he might have wanted to go before the Taliban returned to Kabul.

“But now we don’t want to go back to Afghanistan ever,” Gul, 40, said.

He said his two uncles and their families were in Kabul amid fear and uncertainty.

His father migrated to Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

“I asked them to come on visa when the Taliban started taking territories. But they did not listen to me,” said Gul.

Another refugee wanted Pakistan to allow refugees from Afghanistan.

“We are Muslims like Pakistanis. So why have they (the government) not announced any refugee program for the Afghans,” Mohsin Hussain, 20, told EFE.

“It is the most difficult time for the Afghans, especially for those who have a different ideology than the Taliban. So where should they go?” EFE


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