By: Masouda Qarizada
Afghanistan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation says more than half million of Afghan refugees have returned home from Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and other western countries since the beginning of the current year.
In an exclusive interview with The Kabul Times correspondent, media advisor to ministry of refugees and repatriation Abdul Basit Ansari said nearly 540,000 Afghan refugees have returned home since the beginning of the current year.
“Based on our information, nearly 540,000 Afghan refugees have returned home from Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and all other countries where Afghans are living since Jan of 2021,” Ansari said, adding that there is no exact information regarding the number of those Afghans who are illegally leaving the country.
Pointing to services provided to Afghan returnees in the country’s borders, media advisor to the ministry of refugees and repatriation said returnees were provided with aid package along with foodstuffs and blankets and clothes, adding that nearly of 1,000 of returnees have been recently provided with lands.
“Last year, lands were distributed to hundreds of Afghan returnees and almost 1,000 returnees in Kabul have been introduced to ministry of urban development and land to provide them with lands,” Ansari said, adding that biometrically registration of returnees is planned to be resumed soon in Kabul.
Pointing to deportation process of Afghan refugees from EU member countries, media advisor to the ministry of refugees and repatriation says Afghanistan ministry of refugees and repatriation has not signed any agreement with EU member countries for deportation of Afghan refugees, stressing that the ministry was making effort to have an agreement with host countries to better manage the process as the ministry has continually shared its concern over forced deportation of Afghan refugees. He said that a joint declaration has been signed between Afghanistan and EU for voluntarily repatriation of Afghan refugees to their home country. According to the declaration, five categories of people are not departed as women without guardian, aged people, children without guardian, disabled and people with chronical diseases.
“Despite of the declaration, we found out that a number of Afghans have been deported to Afghanistan. Upon hearing this, the ministry has urgently contacted the host country and prevent from further deportation of Afghans with the respective categories.
He further said that any Afghans who would like to live in EU member countries should process their immigration document through migration courts as this could be a good chance for Afghans living in Europe.
In his interview with The Kabul Times, the media advisor to the ministry of refugees and repatriation also pointed to increasing displacement of Afghan families in the country.
He said that more than 4 million people have been displaced from their home areas due to increasing insecurities in the past one year, adding that nearly 18,400 families have been displaced from home provinces as Helmand, Kandahar, Baghlan, Takhar, Farah and other provinces since the beginning of the current year.
Afghanistan government particularly the ministry of refugees and repatriation, along with relevant international organizations, is working to provide urgent assistance to internally displaced people as well as those returning home from other countries.