Tue, 27 Sep 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], September 11 (ANI): The Taliban is in talks with Pakistan to free 300 Afghans detained for not having legal documents.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the officials of the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad are in talks with Pakistani officials over the release of around 300 Afghans detained by Pakistani police, reported Tolo News.

Pakistan remains the largest country of asylum for Afghans, with 1.5 million Afghans residing in Pakistan, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report.

MoFA's deputy spokesman, Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal, said in a video that some of the detainees had been freed due to efforts of the Afghan embassy. Still, the rest of them will be released after paying the fines.

"Some of them have been freed today and the decision to release others will be taken in the future. I must say that there are some individuals who are taking advantage of this issue and collecting money under the pretext of helping these detainees," he said.

The Pakistani police have arrested around 300 Afghans including women and children, reported Tolo News.

Some Afghan refugees in Karachi, Pakistan expressed frustration over their situation, saying that many members of their families have been held by the Pakistani police for over several months.

They said that they have been fined by the court for not having legal documents but are now unable to pay their fines, reported Tolo News.

"My mother and cousins are among them. It has been two months that they have been detained," said an Afghan refugee in Pakistan.

"My four daughters and wife are among them. I have been dealing with this case for the past two months," said another Afghan refugee.

The reports of the detention of around 300 Afghans by Pakistani police were published in early August.

"Children and women are among them as well as some men... the ambassador has yet to follow up (with) this, neither the consulate. We don't have enough money to hire a lawyer. I came to Karachi and hired a lawyer for them," said Haji Nazar Khogianai, a civil rights activist in Pakistan.

Pakistani human rights activists also voiced concerns over the attitude of the Pakistan government towards the Afghan refugees.

For the past five years, Afghanistan's situation has been a peculiar one in the region with a steady increase of forcibly displaced people every year. Last year, Afghanistan's situation deteriorated dramatically with a 12 per cent increase of forcibly displaced persons by the end of the year compared to end-2020.

UNHCR in Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan pre-screened/pre-registered Afghans who may be in need of international protection. By the end of 2021, the number of new arrivals who approached UNHCR and Ppartners was the following: in Pakistan (1,08,000), Tajikistan (2,700) and Iran (27,800) reached 1,38,500.

"Pakistan remains the largest country of asylum for Afghans, with 1.5 million Afghans residing in Pakistan. This includes POR card holders, unregistered nuclear family members of POR card holders (UMRF), asylum-seekers, and newly arrived Afghans in 2021," the UNHCR report said.

In Afghanistan, the number of internally displaced persons has been increasing rapidly in the past 5 years. Globally, Afghanistan remains the 6th largest IDP country and the largest IDP population in Asia and the Pacific region at 3.5 million -- a 20 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

By the end of 2021, there were 7,77,000 newly displaced Afghans during the year due to the deterioration in conflict and insecurity in Afghanistan. 58 per cent of the IDP population in Afghanistan are children under 18 and 21 per cent are women.

The UNHCR report has argued that durable solutions for Afghans include voluntary repatriation, resettlement to a third country, local integration, naturalization and return to the place of origin prior to displacement.

However, a growing number of displaced populations have limited opportunities for a durable solution.

As new refugee situations intensify and existing ones remain unsolved, there is an urgent need for durable solutions.

Since the Taliban took over in mid-August last year, Afghanistan has not only seen a mass exodus but also the illegal crossings of Afghans into neighbouring countries like Iran via Nimroz province and Turkey.

Although the fighting in the country has ended, Afghanistan's situation has been deteriorating as serious human rights violations continue unabated. (ANI)

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