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IOM reports that Afghan individuals who have returned from Pakistan are facing an uncertain future.
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IOM reports that Afghan individuals who have returned from Pakistan are facing an uncertain future.

In the last two months, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that approximately 375,000 Afghans have departed from Pakistan. Most of them have used the Torkham and Spin Boldak border crossings, which are located near Kabul and Kandahar.

The amount of border crossings per day has dramatically increased from 200 to an astounding 17,000, putting an unprecedented burden on resources and infrastructure.

Desperate situation

Maria Moita, Chief of Mission for IOM Afghanistan, stated that the situation of most people is dire. Many have reported being compelled to flee the country, leaving their possessions and savings behind.

She stated that individuals entering Afghanistan are highly susceptible and require urgent assistance at the border, as well as ongoing support for their return.

The current situation is a result of the implementation of Pakistan’s “Illegal Foreigners’ Repatriation Plan,” which required all undocumented Afghans to voluntarily return to their home country by November 1st.

Response efforts

The IOM-led border consortium is providing vital assistance, including shelter, water, sanitation, necessary household items, healthcare, protection, nutrition services, and cash aid for basic needs, transportation, and food.

Nevertheless, the increase in mandated repatriations has required the creation of bigger reception facilities to offer aid to Afghan citizens returning before they move on to their planned destinations.

Ms. Moita stated that this is a major humanitarian emergency and there is a pressing need for funds to support immediate aid upon arrival, in order to ensure a secure and respectful repatriation.

Urgent support needed

As the current situation evolves, the group of border organizations has made an initial request for aid, foreseeing the need for reassessment and extra assistance. The circumstances are especially difficult for females in Afghanistan, and with the onset of winter, the necessity for global aid is increasingly pressing.

IOM reports that Afghanistan will face difficulties in accommodating the large influx of families returning after years of conflict, instability, and economic turmoil. Many of these families have never lived in the country before or have been away for several decades.

According to the agency, with a current internal displacement of over six million people in Afghanistan, those returning from Pakistan are met with an unpredictable and unstable future.

At present, Afghanistan ranks third in terms of having the highest number of internally displaced individuals worldwide.