“Unprecedented” numbers crossed from Afghanistan to Pakistan | Afghanistan

An “unprecedented” number of people travel from it Afghanistan into Pakistan via the official border crossing, according to local officials, as the carnage in Kabul after the airport suicide attack prompted more to try to flee the country.

While Pakistan It said it would not accept any Afghan refugees, the Spin Boldak Chaman land border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan has remained open, and in recent days hundreds of thousands of Afghans have crossed.

Only people who travel to Pakistan for medical treatment or have proof of residency in the country are allowed to cross, but smugglers help families cross the border.

Friday after Suicide attack at Kabul airport This resulted in the deaths of more than 100 Afghan civilians and 13 American soldiers, and the crowds on the border increased even more.

A local health official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said: “There has been an unprecedented rise in the numbers of Afghans and refugees who entered Pakistan from various provinces of Afghanistan in the past. Two days. Today, more people crossed into Shaman than yesterday. “.

Another person at the scene said the numbers at the border nearly doubled on Friday. Every day, tens of thousands of people gather at the border and about 20,000 cross each day, nearly three times the usual number of 6,000. Among the fleeing were the Pashtuns, the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, as well as Tajiks and minorities such as Shiite Hazara.

Pakistan is already home to most of the 2.2 million Afghans registered abroad. UNHCR is preparing for up to half a million people or more to flee Afghanistan in a “worst-case scenario” in the coming months, with Pakistan likely to be where the majority will flee.

Some 515,000 refugees have recently fled, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the situation in Afghanistan “remains uncertain and may evolve rapidly”.

While the Pakistani health official referred to the crossing of many of them as refugees, an acknowledgment that they fled to Pakistan, the government has officially denied a mass exodus of Afghans who entered the country illegally through the border crossing.

We do not allow Afghan refugees to enter and cross our borders. “There may have been a few individual cases but no influx,” said Liaquat Al Shahwani, a spokesman for the Balochistan government.

Al-Shahwani said those who crossed the border would be limited to refugee camps being built in border areas, and called on UNHCR and other international agencies to help build and run them.

Balochistan, the region in which the border town of Chaman is located, is already one of the most volatile and war-torn regions of Pakistan, and is under frequent attacks by Baloch rebel groups and Islamist militants, including the Islamic State.

Following the attack on Kabul airport on Thursday, in which Islamic State militants detonated a suicide bomb among the crowds, Al-Shahwani said security has been beefed up in the border region of Chaman.

“There is no official warning of terrorist attacks in the border areas, but the security forces on the borders are on alert and guarding the borders,” Shahwani said. They are well prepared to handle any situation. In recent days and weeks, there have been some terrorist attacks but the conditions are under our control in Balochistan.”

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