News / Asia

Kabul Urges Islamabad Against Mass Expulsion

An Afghan refugee girl outside her home in slums of Islamabad, Pakistan, May 16, 2012.
An Afghan refugee girl outside her home in slums of Islamabad, Pakistan, May 16, 2012.
Ayaz Gul
ISLAMABAD -- Afghanistan is urging authorities in neighboring Pakistan to abandon plans to expel tens of thousands of unregistered Afghan migrants from the country.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates there are currently 1.7 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, but local officials say tens of thousands of others are residing in the country illegally.
The government of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan, says around 400,000 unregistered Afghans reside in the provincial capital, Peshawar, alone.
Last month, the provincial government ordered all unregistered migrants to pack up and go back to Afghanistan by May 25, blaming them for the worsening security situation in the city, where Taliban militants have carried out frequent attacks.

Authorities have vowed to launch a police crackdown after the deadline to roundup the illegal immigrants and hand them over to Afghan authorities on the border.
Afghanistan's ambassador to Islamabad, Omar Daudzai, says the Kabul has serious concerns about the decision and wants Pakistani officials to cancel the plan.

"They should review the deadline, and we should hold bilateral talks and come up with a joint plan for a dignified, voluntary and orderly return of the Afghan refugees," he said.

Forced repatriation, he added, creates room for police to harass Afghan refugees irrespective of legal status.

"We want our Afghan refugees to come back to our country, but not on the basis of expulsion," he said. "Whether they are registered or not registered, for [the Afghan government] they are the same, and we have to deal with them in the same way."
Afghanistan's economic, education and health conditions, although improved, aren't sufficient to absorb the large number of returning refugees a mass expulsion would generate.

"We from the Afghan side should do more to provide them with shelter when they return, or at least allocate them a piece of land where they can build shelter for themselves," he said.
Daudzai said a high-level Afghan delegation led by the minister for returning refugees is expected to arrive in Islamabad to discuss the issue with Pakistani officials.
UNHCR officials requesting anonymity said Pakistan like any other country has the right to control who enters their country, or whether they are allowed to stay.

The United Nations will be concerned, they said, only if those sent back are registered Afghan refugees to whom the deadline does not pertain.

You May Like

Video 2nd American Reportedly Killed in Syria

Local television report says Abdirahman Muhumed left the area to fight for Islamic State militants More

WHO Fears Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People

World Health Organization says outbreak 'continues to accelerate' but that most cases are concentrated in a few local areas More

Angelina Jolie Marries Brad Pitt

Actors wed in small private ceremony Saturday in France More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.