US Trying To Stop Deportation Of 25,000 Afghan Nationals From Pak
ISLAMABAD (ANI) – The US embassy has issued letters to more than 25,000 Afghan nationals under the process of relocation to and resettlement in the US and shared their names with Pakistani authorities, Dawn reported, citing diplomatic and other sources.
These Afghan nationals, however, continue to face an uncertain future as Pakistan raised objections regarding the list, according to Pakistan’s senior Interior Ministry official. At present, these Afghan nationals are residing in Pakistan and await resettlement in the US.
The crisis erupted when Pakistan began detaining illegal Afghan refugees in holding centers after the November 1 deadline for their voluntary departure to Afghanistan expired, according to Dawn report.
Following the Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan, the US government evacuated thousands of Afghans who had worked for them and feared retribution at the hands of the Taliban. Reportedly, these Afghan nationals also faced action amid the ongoing crackdown against illegal foreign nationals in Pakistan, prompting US officials to call on the Pakistani authorities to address the issue.
US officials believe these letters would serve as a guarantee for the concerned Afghan nationals to reside in Pakistan without fearing their arrest and deportation.
“We are in close and constant contact with the Government of Pakistan on the safety of individuals in the US pipelines. Our key concern is the safety of vulnerable and at-risk individuals,” Dawn quoted US embassy spokesperson Jonathan Lalley.
He said, “It was in both countries’ interest to ensure the safe and efficient resettlement of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers.” Lalley said that the US embassy has shared a list of Afghan nationals, who are under the process of resettlement and relocation with the Pakistani government, Dawn reported.
Afghan nationals could still face deportation as the Pakistani government has refused to attach any legal value to the letters issued by the US embassy. A senior interior ministry official said that there was no agreement or understanding between the two sides that letters to more than 25,000 individuals will have legal validity.
In addition, the official raised objections on the list and added that the list included those who were not Afghan nationals. According to officials, the list has many flaws as it only included the names of people without providing details regarding their father’s name and address.
Lalley said that the US government is considering all possible options to expand its refugee and immigrant visa processing capacity in Pakistan. He also called for establishing a screening mechanism and added that a hotline has been created with information available in English, Dari, and Pashto for Afghan nationals to seek help and guidance.