More than 10,000 Afghans living in Pakistan rushed to the borders on Tuesday, just hours before a deadline for 1.7 million people to leave Pakistan voluntarily or face arrest and deportation.
The Pakistan government has said it would begin arresting undocumented Afghans and taking them to new holding centers from Wednesday, from where they will be processed and forcibly returned to Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban government has imposed a harsh interpretation of Islamic law since seizing power in August 2021, banning girls from secondary and university education and forcing women to stay out of work.
While hundreds of thousands of Afghans are estimated to have fled to Pakistan since the Taliban’s return to power, millions more had already settled there over decades of conflict, making Pakistan the host of one of the world’s largest refugee populations.