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Pakistan Deports15 Afghan Refugees - 2001-10-29

Authorities in Pakistan have deported 15 Afghan refugees for their alleged role in violent anti-American demonstrations in the southwestern city, Quetta. The move comes as another demonstration was held Monday in the capital city of Balochistan Province.

Senior police officials say the Afghan deportees were actively involved in staging violent anti-American demonstrations in Quetta on October 8. At a news conference, Police Chief Shoaib Suddle gave a stern warning to other Afghan refugees that they would be arrested and returned to Afghanistan for taking part in protest rallies. "Under no circumstances are we going to allow them to create troubles for us by way of resorting to any sort of violence or damage to property," Chief Suddle said.

He said the government will continue to allow demonstrations, as long as they are peaceful. He said provincial authorities have been in negotiation with religious leaders to ensure future rallies remain peaceful.

Five people were killed and businesses were set on fire in a major demonstration in Quetta, one day after the U.S. led forces began the bombing campaign against the ruling Taleban movement in Afghanistan.

Pro-Taleban Islamic groups in Pakistan have been demonstrating against the strikes and the Pakistani Government for supporting the American- led military action is aimed at destroying Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network, based in Afghanistan.

Monday's deportation comes as the United Nations reports that more than 80,000 Afghans could have entered Pakistan illegally in the last three weeks. Many of them have taken refugee in and around this border city.