Afghanistan refugee crisis threatens to prolong amid Pakistan playing ball with Taliban, says expert
With Pakistan playing the ball with the Taliban, the refugee crisis in Afghanistan post-Taliban threatens to prolong and needs continued focus. Fabien Baussart, in a blog post in The Times of Israel, said that with solid action in the form of pressures on Kabul and Islamabad authorities should work to resolve it and not try to suppress it.
A humanitarian crisis of gigantic proportions is unfolding in the landlocked nation even as a shocked and surprised world community struggles to come to terms with the country’s takeover by the Taliban.
It is accentuated because the new rulers, while giving verbal assurances of safety, are hunting down people who oppose them, on the streets and from their homes, says Baussart.
An equally big contributor to the crisis is the role of Pakistan that has the largest border with Afghanistan, but will not open it to the fleeing Afghans.
The near-complete fencing of the border is now being compounded by closing the check-posts and physically deporting those who manage to cross over.
The new refugees are clearly forced and coerced, not allowed to stay even overnight and are handed over across to the Afghan border authorities, reported The Times of Israel.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on September 5 said in Quetta that there were no refugee camps and none was being planned.
Three days later, Dawn newspaper reported from the same city that 200 Afghans – families with children – who crossed over from Spin Boldak and Chaman were deported back and the Afghan authorities, in turn, drove them back into the interior.
This is “unlawful forced mass return,” according to Human Rights Watch. There is no surprise in this course of action that is bound to be repeated as Afghans desperately try to flee their country.
That part of the Afghan-Pak border was under the Taliban control long before they took Kabul, and elaborate preparations were made well in advance to mutual advantage.
The Pakistan authorities had made clear assertions in that regard since May this year, even as the Taliban’s military campaign gained momentum, says Baussart.