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US wants Pakistan to welcome more Afghan refugees by keeping open borders

Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf said in a briefing in Washington this week that arrangements should be made to keep displaced Afghans inside their country instead of pushing them into Pakistan.

Relationship between the USA and the Pakistan. Two flags of countries on heaven with sunset. 3D rendered illustration.

The United States wants Pakistan to open its borders with Afghanistan to welcome more refugees. The US has raised this demand at a time when Pakistan said it was not in a position to host more refugees.

“So, in a place like Pakistan, it’ll be important that their borders remain open,” an official of the State Department told reporters while sharing with them new programme for refugees.

“If people go north or if they go via Iran to Turkey, they have an opportunity to enter the country as well as to register with either the government or with UNHCR as refugees,” the official added.

The US announced new programme, announced last Monday, applies to those who worked on the US-funded projects and to Afghans employed by a US-based media or non-governmental organisation (NGO).

An earlier programme, known as the Special Immigration Visa (SIV), covers interpreters and others who worked for the US government agencies, and their families.

Besides Pakistan, the US State Department has also asked Turkey to allow Afghans to stay in the country for up to 14 months before they are resettled in the United States.

Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf said in a briefing in Washington this week that arrangements should be made to keep displaced Afghans inside their country instead of pushing them into Pakistan.

“Why make Afghanis homeless? Make arrangements for them inside their country. Pakistan does not have the capacity to take more refugees.”

The Turkish government too has criticised the US plan to use third countries to resettle Afghans, saying the move would cause a great migration crisis in the region.

“We do not accept the irresponsible decision taken by the United States without consulting our country,” the Turkish Ministry Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued in Ankara.

There are two countries that can play a pivotal role in this resettlement plan, Iran and Pakistan. Since the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, US policy makers look at Pakistan to help them implement this programme.

Pakistan, however, appears reluctant to do so. Since 1979, Pakistan has hosted millions of Afghans and more than three million are permanently settled in the country.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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