The spokesman for the Afghan Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, has criticized Pakistan’s decision to expel Afghan nationals who are living in the country without documentation. Mujahid called the decision “unacceptable” and urged Pakistani authorities to reconsider. Pakistan’s caretaker government has given all undocumented immigrants, including Afghans, until October 31 to leave the country or face imprisonment and deportation. The government also stated that movement across the border would require passports and visas, and Afghan identity cards would only be accepted until the deadline. After the deadline, authorities will target illegal properties and businesses owned by immigrants or those in collaboration with Pakistanis. Mujahid argued that Afghan refugees are not responsible for Pakistan’s security problems and called on Pakistan to tolerate them as long as they leave voluntarily. According to the United Nations, there are 1.3 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, with an additional 880,000 having legal status to remain. The government claims that a further 1.7 million Afghans are in the country illegally. The policy announcement has raised concerns and criticism from various quarters, including the Afghanistan Embassy in Islamabad, Amnesty International, and a UN official. Pakistan’s crackdown on Afghan refugees has intensified in recent weeks, with the government citing illegal immigration and rising crime as reasons for the action.
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