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Terrible tragedy for Afghanistan’s ‘unwanted’

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The world has been familiar with “boat people” and with huge exodus from crisis-hit Syria and other Middle Eastern nations, fleeing homes, crossing multiple borders and heading for Europe where they were mostly unwanted and were pushed back, at times with violence. Now it is the turn of the Afghans from where droves are being driven out by last month’s political changes.

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.

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.

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........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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