Can Afghanistan cope with its returnees from Pakistan?

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Hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees in Pakistan face deportation to a country still riven by war. 

More than two million Afghan refugees in Pakistan are now living in uncertainty, as a deadline for them to leave the country expired on Saturday.

The government in Islamabad announced last year all Afghan refugees must return to their homeland. 

Their Proof of Registration cards have been extended a number of times, but the government says eventually they will all have to leave. 

For many of these refugees, Pakistan is and always has been home.

Afghan families first began seeking asylum in Pakistan in 1979 when war broke out, so many were refugees born and raised in Pakistan. 

They also say conditions are not safe in Afghanistan for them to return. 

The Pakistani government says its economy cannot afford what it calls “the burden” of the refugees any longer.

But is that convincing? And is this decision purely political?

Presenter: Elizabeth Puranam


Riaz Sadat – former Afghan refugee in Pakistan

Naveed Ahmad – Pakistani investigative journalist 

William Carter – head of Afghanistan Programme at the Norwegian Refugee Council 

Source: Al Jazeera

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