Monday, December 4, 2023

Taliban deputy foreign affairs minister warns Pakistan to not ‘force Afghans to react’

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The acting Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of the Taliban, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, issued a warning to Islamabad regarding the treatment of Afghan immigrants, urging Pakistan to handle them appropriately and avoid actions that could provoke a response from Afghans. Stanikzai made these remarks during a meeting focused on the “Future Economic Development of Afghanistan.” He stressed that Afghanistan now has a robust defense force and ample weaponry, and the reactions of Afghans have been recorded in history.

Furthermore, Stanikzai criticized Pakistan’s unilateral decision to deport Afghan immigrants, highlighting reports of Pakistani soldiers confiscating the property and assets of Afghan immigrants during deportation. He accused Pakistan of ignoring the demands of the United Nations and the international community regarding the departure of Afghan immigrants, even as Pakistan had benefited economically from their presence for many years.

Regarding the Qosh Tepa Canal and the use of water from the Amu River, the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister assured Afghanistan’s neighbors that their water rights are being respected. He emphasized that the Taliban is committed to controlling the country’s water resources but has no intention of harming its neighboring countries.

The ongoing situation involves the return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan. The Pakistan interim government set a deadline of October 31 for nearly two million Afghan refugees to leave the country, with the threat of forced deportation. However, the Taliban continues to accuse Pakistan of mistreating and harassing the refugees.

In recent days, a significant number of Afghan families have returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan, with the Refugees and Repatriation Department of Kandahar province reporting that 4,533 families, totaling 31,547 people, have returned from Pakistan. Pakistan’s focus on repatriating Afghan refugees is driven, in part, by its ongoing struggle to combat terrorism effectively.

In addition to voluntary repatriation, Afghan nationals imprisoned for minor crimes are also being deported. The situation highlights the complexities and challenges associated with Afghan refugees and the dynamics between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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