KABUL (SW) – Syed Hussain Aalimi Balkhi, minister for the refugees and repatriation, said on Thursday that Pakistan and Iran have agreed not to forcefully expel Afghan refugees.
He said this consensus has been reached in a meeting among representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He added the stay of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran has been extended for one more year.
In connection with the World Refugee Day, he said efforts are also underway with the international partners to convince the European countries too not to forcefully expel the Afghan refugees.
The U.S. Embassy and the UNHCR held a joint reception today to mark the 40th year of Afghan displacement, and urged the international community to increase efforts to create an environment conducive to the voluntary return of Afghan refugees and their sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said natural disasters and raging insecurity have also displaced many people inside the country.
The UNHCR’s Representative in Afghanistan, Caroline Van Buren, urged the international community to continue supporting the implementation of initiatives for the welfare of refugees.
“As Afghanistan makes progressive policy reforms to support the inclusion of returnees, IDPs and host communities in national systems despite daunting security challenges, the international community cannot walk away from the Afghan refugee situation that has affected the people of this country for nearly four decades. It is imperative that collective efforts, including in the area of development, are redoubled to support these initiatives with a view to enhancing absorption capacity and enabling sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan”, she said.