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Pakistani, Afghan FMs meet amid growing tensions over deportation of refugees


Foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan meet in Tibet on Thursday. (Image from X)

The foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan have met in Tibet at a time when relations between the two countries have hit a new low.

The meeting took place on Thursday amid escalating diplomatic tensions between the two neighbors over Pakistanís ultimatum to undocumented Afghan immigrants to leave the country or face the risk of imprisonment and deportation.

Pakistanís caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani and his acting Afghan counterpart Amir Khan Muttaqi met in Tibetís Xizang city on the sidelines of the third Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation in Chinaís autonomous region.

According to a statement from Pakistanís Foreign Ministry on X, Jilani reaffirmed Islamabadís "commitment to further strengthening bilateral ties with Afghanistan."

The foreign minister underscored that the "challenges confronting regional peace and stability be addressed in collaborative spirit through collective strategies."

Islamabad has set November 1 as the deadline for all undocumented immigrants, mainly Afghans, to leave the country, warning of arrests and deportations after the deadline.

The move has further strained the relations between the two countries.

The decision has drawn a response from Afghan authorities, with Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid calling it "unacceptable" and urging authorities to revisit the policy.

According to the UNCHR, the UN refugee agency, 2.18 million Afghan refugees are currently living in Pakistan.

With the hurried withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, a new wave of approximately 600,000 to 800,000 Afghan immigrants crossed over to neighboring Pakistan.

As per the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a record 28.3 million people currently depend on humanitarian and protection assistance in Afghanistan, up from 24.4 million in 2022 and 18.4 million in 2021.

Pakistan has accused the Taliban of supporting terrorists loyal to the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terror group which has claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks in the country. Islamabad alleges that some Afghan refugees have been involved in "funding and facilitating" terrorist activities.

Afghanistanís Taliban rulers deny the charges, saying they have launched a crackdown on the TTP in the eastern Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan and arrested hundreds of terrorists.

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/27500


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