On October 3rd 2023, Pakistan’s interim government announced the repatriation of “illegal” refugees and migrants, citing security concerns but were later also found to be targeting Afghan Citizen Card holders and even those with Proof of Registration cards. Since then, according to UNHCR, more than 450,000 people have returned to Afghanistan.
In Phase one of the government’s plan, effective from November 1st, the focus was on “illegal” Afghans—those lacking documentation, possessing fake Pakistani papers, or overstaying visas. The subsequent phases are targeting Afghan Citizen Card holders and even those with Proof of Registration cards, although no specific timeline has been announced. A hotline established by the Interior Ministry has been encouraging reporting, leading to fines for landlords and firms employing Afghans without proper documents which has resulted in local law enforcement harassing Afghans indiscriminately.
The enforcement measures have raised international human rights concerns, and the situation is further complicated by the inadequate preparedness of Afghanistan to accommodate many deportees amidst existing crises.
From January to December 2023, 49,468 families and 283,029 individuals had returned to Afghanistan. In Nangarhar, 58,241 females (35387 children and 22854 adults) and 63433 males (40388 children and 23045 adults) have returned.
Whereas, till January 15th, 2024, 386 families and 1913 individuals have returned to Afghanistan. Based on the initial findings of a Multi-Sectoral Need Assessment (MSNA) survey (please refer to the attached report) conducted by CWSA in Laghman and Nangarhar provinces.
Afghan deportees are extremely vulnerable, particularly women and children are at risk of losing their lives in a harsh winter if left without adequate shelter.
According to the initial assessment conducted by CWSA, the priority needs are; Emergency shelter (tents, as well as longer-term solutions to withstand winter), Cash assistance, WASH (latrines, potable water and storage containers), Food assistance and protection, Healthcare and medicines, Livelihood, Quality & accountability (Q&A), Education.
ACT Alliance member Community World Services Asia (CWSA) with the support from ACT Secretariate RRF mechanism will be supporting around 3000 by providing the multi-purpose cash assistance in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.