On Wednesday, November 8, Pakistan justified its decision to deport hundreds of thousands of unregistered Afghan nationals by citing the Taliban-led administration’s alleged failure to take action against militants who are utilizing Afghanistan as a base for launching attacks within Pakistan.
In the previous month, Pakistan announced a November 1 deadline for the expulsion of all unauthorized immigrants, a category that included a significant number of Afghan individuals. Pakistan justified this decision on grounds of national security, dismissing appeals for reconsideration from entities such as the United Nations, human rights organizations, and Western embassies.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar informed journalists that, due to the lack of cooperation from the Afghan interim government, Pakistan had chosen to assume control of the situation. He stated that Pakistan’s recent actions were not unexpected or surprising.
Afghans who have resided in Pakistan for extended periods are being compelled to depart the nation, and authorities are conducting operations to apprehend additional individuals in various parts of the country.
Kakar further mentioned that there had been 15 suicide bombings conducted by Afghan individuals in the past few months, leading to casualties, and numerous Afghans had lost their lives in confrontations with Pakistani security forces. He emphasized that Pakistan had consistently expressed its apprehensions regarding the presence of militant sanctuaries in Afghanistan, but despite multiple assurances, the Taliban-led administration had not taken any action.
However, Kakar made an unusually strongly-worded statement against the Taliban, traditionally seen as close allies of Pakistan, by asserting that evidence indicated that militants had found support and facilitation in Afghanistan.
He mentioned that Islamabad had initially anticipated that the Taliban’s rise to power in 2021, following the departure of US-led foreign forces from Afghanistan, would usher in a period of peace and collaboration. However, he further noted that since that time, there has been a 60 percent increase in militant attacks in Pakistan, along with a staggering 500 percent surge in suicide bombings, resulting in the loss of over 2,200 Pakistani lives.
A resurgence of attacks by Islamist militants in Pakistan has been observed following the breakdown of talks between Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Pakistani state in 2022. TTP, which serves as an umbrella organization for various militant groups, professes loyalty to and derives its name from the Afghan Taliban but is not directly affiliated with the governing entity in Afghanistan.
Kakar stated that Pakistan had conveyed to the Taliban administration that it was necessary to choose between Pakistan and the TTP.