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Top Pakistan, Afghan Diplomats Meet in Tibet Amid Tensions Over Expulsion of Illegal Migrants

The Pakistani and Afghan foreign ministers met in Tibet on Thursday amid escalating diplomatic tensions over Islamabad’s deadline for illegal Afghan refugees to leave the country by the end of October, Anadolu Agency reports.

Pakistan’s caretaker Foreign Minister, Jalil Abbas Jilani, and his acting counterpart Afghan, Amir Khan Muttaqi, met in Tibet’s Xizang city on the sidelines of the third Trans-Himalayan Forum for International Cooperation in China’s autonomous region.

According to a brief statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on X, Abbas reaffirmed Islamabad’s “commitment to further strengthening bilateral ties with Afghanistan”.

He underscored that the “challenges confronting regional peace and stability be addressed in collaborative spirit through collective strategies.”

Islamabad has set 1 November as the deadline for all undocumented migrants, mainly Afghans, to voluntarily leave the country, warning of arrests and deportations after that date, plunging the already strained relations between the two neighbours to a new low.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a record 28.3 million people currently depend on humanitarian and protection assistance in Afghanistan, up from 24.4 million in 2022 and 18.4 million in 2021.

Latest UN figures show some 1.3 million Afghans are registered refugees in Pakistan, while another 880,000 have legal status to stay in the country.

According to Pakistan’s caretaker Interior Minister, Sarfraz Bugti, over 1.7 million Afghan refugees are not registered with the government.

Pakistan alleges that some Afghan refugees have been involved in “funding and facilitating” terrorist activities in the country.

Islamabad accuses Afghanistan’s Taliban government of “mentoring” terrorists loyal to the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terror group, which has claimed responsibility for several of the recent deadly attacks.

Kabul, for its part, denies the charges and has reportedly launched a crackdown on the TTP in the eastern Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan, arresting nearly 200 terrorists.

Source : MEMO