UN agency urges Pakistan to halt expelling Afghans during winter

UN agency urges Pakistan to halt expelling Afghans during winter
# 22 November 2023 20:25 (UTC +04:00)

The U.N. refugee agency on Wednesday urged Pakistan to halt the deportation of undocumented Afghan refugees during the harsh winter season, as police continued to search homes and expel Afghanis who had not already left, APA reports citing Reuters.

Islamabad last month announced it would expel over a million undocumented refugees, mostly Afghans, amid a row with Kabul over charges that it harbors anti-Pakistan militants.

Over 370,000 Afghans have fled Pakistan since Oct. 1.

"UNHCR is calling upon the government of Pakistan to halt these mass numbers of returns during this harsh season of winter because the cold in Afghanistan is really deadly and it can take lives," the agency's regional spokesman, Babar Baloch, told Reuters TV in an interview.

"We're talking about desperate women, children and men being on the move, leaving Pakistan in droves," he said.

The agency has said the Afghans' return should be voluntary and that Pakistan should identify vulnerable individuals who need international protection.

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