Pakistan: After-effects of Taliban takeover in Afghanistan 


By Nasir Aijaz,
The AsiaN Representative

KARACHI: No battle fought, no armed clashes or encounter took place with American and allied forces or even with Afghan army, yet the world witnessed that the US-installed Afghan President fled and the Taliban got hold of Kabul without any resistance. This resulted in collapse of entire government system and spread of wave of panic and chaos across the Afghanistan notoriously known and nicknamed since centuries as the ‘Graveyard of the Empires’. However, the dramatic developments gave an impression as if ‘All was pre-planned’.

“Yes, you are right. It all was pre-planned. The Americans paved the way for Mullahs to take over,” Feroz Khan, a journalist and an eye-witness to the recent turmoil in Afghanistan, replied to my query.

Feroz Khan was my former colleague in Karachi and had joined a German media organization in Berlin, from where he was posted in Kabul a few years back. Soon after the Taliban’s taking over the Kabul and the reports of their hunt for journalists, I had enquired about his safety.

“Sensing the threat, I had left the Kabul and took refuge in Pakistan, as did several other journalists. Almost all have fled the country,” he told briefly adding that ‘A few journalists are still stranded there.’

Neither he told me nor I asked for the city name where he is hiding for his security concerns.

Feroz Khan was born in Pakistan to an Afghan refugee family and grew up and studied in Karachi, the capital of Southern Sindh province of Pakistan.

I had also tried to a lady journalist and writer Fatima in Kabul, but received no response to my messages, may be for having left the country or being in hiding or…..

The wave of panic and the threat to life has also silenced the journalists as well as general public on Pakistan side of border, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw and Balochistan provinces bordering Afghanistan. However, the right wing journalists, who are known to be activists of extremist religious groups and parties, are seen welcoming and praising the Taliban in newspapers and social media. A video was released recently on social media showing the group of seminary students of Lal Masjid (Mosque) Islamabad singing a welcome song for Taliban.

“The journalists are very cautious while reporting and analyzing the situation in Afghanistan because of security reasons. You know the Taliban are very much present here and have penetrated in our society and nobody dares to speak about them openly,” Dilbar Khan, a journalist based in Landikotal, the nearest city to the Torkham international border with Afghanistan, told on phone.

On a question about the border situation, he told that the border is closed and hundreds of trucks loaded with fruits and vegetables are stranded on Afghan side, as the entire system of their banking and custom services has collapsed after takeover by Taliban.

I was curious to know about influx of Afghan refugees.

“Officially no Afghan refugees have yet been allowed to cross over the border. However, the government of Pakistan is said to have identified the locations for setting up refugee camps,” Dilbar Khan told adding that thousands of Afghans have thronged on Afghanistan side to seek refuge in Pakistan.

When asked about reaction by general public, he said, “They can only pray for peace on either side of border.”



Yes, we can just pray for the peace, as the people of Pakistan apprehend that the terrorists, criminals, drug and arms traders might infiltrate in the guise of refugees, as had been in the past. Pakistan had been facing these menaces for over four decades with influx of around five million Afghan refugees after Soviet invasion in Afghanistan in 1979. They were responsible for introducing drug and Kalashnikov culture in Pakistan.

Although, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) had started voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees back in 2002, but some 1,435,445 registered Afghan refugees were still in Pakistan on Dec 31, 2020, according to UNHCR statistics. The province-wise date shows presence of 834387 refugees in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw province, 327247 in Balochistan, 168351 in Punjab, 66111 in Sindh, 35003 in Islamabad federal capital and 4341 in Pakistan-Administered Azad Jammu Kashmir.  Registered Afghan refugees are those who have a valid Proof of Registration (PoR) card issued by Government of Pakistan’s National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA).

When the repatriation started in 2002, some 1500000 refugees were repatriated in first year but their number declined every year and according to UNHCR only 354 refugees returned to Afghanistan during 2020 upto December 31. The Afghans living in Refugees Villages are 30.6% while 69.4 are settled outside refugee villages (Urban areas).

But the unofficial number of old Afghan refugees is much higher than what is being told by UNHCR and the government authorities, as a large number of refugees are not registered, and hundreds of thousands have got Computerized National Identity Cards illegally from NADRA, as disclosed many times by the government officials, and their statements are on record.

On one hand the repatriation had come to a standstill, and on the other, new influx had started with reports of advancement of Taliban. It is confirmed by UNHCR report which says that 10245 Afghans are asylum seekers besides some others numbering around 5000.


According to UNHCR Pakistan website some 550,000 Afghans have now been internally displaced in the Afghanistan since the beginning of the year, in addition to 2.9 million Afghans already internally displaced at the end of 2020. Since the beginning of the year, some 120,000 Afghans had fled from rural areas and provincial towns to Kabul province – including some 20,000 since the start of July. Some 80 per cent of nearly a quarter of a million Afghans forced to flee since the end of May are women and children, whom the conflict is taking the highest toll on.

It added that while the vast majority of Afghans forced to flee their homes remain within the country, more than 5,000 refugees have approached UNHCR or partners this year in neighboring countries, with most reporting having left Afghanistan for security and conflict-related reasons.

The total number of Afghans who have left the country seeking safety is, however, likely to be higher than those approaching UNHCR or partners, largely owing to the reports from the Iranian authorities about more recent irregular arrivals of Afghans into Iran,

Some media reports quote Pakistani diplomats in Afghanistan as saying that around one million people may be affected by the post-US exit violence, while government has estimated that between 500,000 to 700,000 people may be headed to Pakistan in case of conflict. In such a scenario, keeping the new arrivals in camps near the border seems to be the best option, as allowing more refugees into the cities will cause major security and economic problems.

While unofficial arrival of Afghan refugees continued through land borders of Khyber Pakhtunkhaw and Balochistan, Pakistan said in July that it would not accept any more Afghan refugees but in the meantime some developments have taken place. Despite apprehensions of terrorism and subsequent alert orders to the intelligence agencies by the federal and provincial governments, and Punjab government’s reported refusal to accept the Afghan refugees, the Pakistan authorities bowed to the American pressure for hosting some five to ten thousand Afghans who had facilitated US forces in Afghanistan.

According to media reports these Afghans will stay here for a month or so till they are shifted to USA, but the people being much concerned of consequences, had started social media campaigns especially the hashtag drive on Twitter. The Twitter trend in Sindh province is at height, being the most affected by criminal activities of aliens including Afghans. The people of Sindh were surprised when new US Consul General Mr. Mark Stroh called on provincial Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday August 27, 2021 in Karachi and the latter assured the former of full support in accommodating the refugees.  Twitter trend condemning the Chief Minister has also been started and there are signs that nationalist groups of Sindh will launch protest demonstrations.

(The original names have been changed for security reasons) микрозайм на карту срочно без отказа

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