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Over 1 million Afghan refugees returned home in past 18 months

Afghanistan Ministry of Refugees Repatriation of the Islamic Emirate has informed that over 1 million Afghan refugees have returned from neighboring countries particularly Pakistan and Iran to Afghanistan in the past 18 months. Abdul Matalib Haqqani, a spokesperson of the ministry of refugees and repatriation, in an interview with The Kabul Times correspondent said that over 1 million Afghan refugees have returned home from neighboring countries in the past 18 months.
“1,228,942 Afghan refugees have returned home from neighboring countries, over 1 million internally displaced people have returned their home provinces after they have been provided with food and non-food items and nearly 3 million needy Afghans have been provided with humanitarian assistance,” Haqqani said.
Pointing to problems of Afghan refugees in neighboring countries particularly Iran, Haqqani said that the Islamic Emirate has paid visits to Iran, Pakistan and Turkey to talk to relevant authorities of the respective countries to discuss Afghan refugees’ problems, adding that with continued efforts of the IEA, thousands of Afghan refugees have been registered in Iran to legally live in the country.
According to the country’s ministry of refugees and repatriation, nearly 7 million Afghans are living as refugees in neighboring countries including EU and western countries.
Based on reports, dozens of Afghans have lost their lives due to a shipwreck in Italy. About 180 people, mostly from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, were traveling on a wooden fishing boat that had left Turkey days ago.
According to reports, the entire group fell into the water about 150 meters from the shore, most likely after the wooden boat hit rocks on the coast of eastern Calabria in bad weather. The body of one person was found tens of km away, due to strong currents. Unfortunately, 91 Afghans lost their lives in the incident.
The spokesperson of the ministry of refugees and repatriation by expressing sadness over the incident said that Afghan refugees were being mistreated in a number of EU member countries as most refugees were living under bridges with no shelter, their camps were being attacked and they were mostly robbed, adding that the Islamic Emirate has shared challenges facing Afghan refugees in EU member countries with relevant international agencies working for refugees.
Haqqani further said that they had a joint meeting with Iran and Pakistan with the participation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ representatives to discuss the problems of Afghan refugees, adding that in the meeting, the participants promised to address all challenges facing Afghan refugees in the respective countries.
Meanwhile, the country’s ministry of foreign affairs has informed that the Islamic Emirate has reached an agreement with Iran in connection with the extradition of all those Afghan refugees that have been imprisoned in the respective country’s prisons.
“An Islamic Emirate delegation led by Attorney General has paid a visit to Tehran to discuss the extradition process of Afghan prisoners. The IEA high-ranking delegation has reached an agreement based on which hundreds of Afghan prisoners being imprisoned in Iran’s prisons will be extradited to Afghan side,” said Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal, deputy spokesperson to the ministry of foreign affairs.
According to the MoFA spokesperson, as a result of the agreement reached with the Iranian side, 731 Afghan prisoners have been recently handed over to the Islamic Emirate through the port of Islam Qala in Herat, hoping that handing over process of Afghan prisoners to the IEA side will continue.
It is worth mentioning that with continued efforts of the Afghanistan embassy to Islamabad and the country’s consulate to Karachi, dozens of Afghan prisoners have been released from Pakistan’s prisons. So far, 1,537 Afghan prisons have been released from Pakistan’s prisons and have returned home.
Samiullah Momand

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