Over 300,000 Afghan refugees forced out of Pakistan amid crackdown: Official

More than 300,000 Afghan refugees have left Pakistan so far amid the country’s crackdown against illegal immigrants, officials said on Tuesday.

Pakistan announced the mass deportations of undocumented or illegal Afghan refugees last month, a move criticised by Western governments and global human rights groups.

Some 305,462 Afghan refugees had since left the country, authorities said.

The majority, 209,550, crossed the border from the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fazal Rabbi, a senior official overseeing the deportation process, said.

Another 95,912 had left Pakistan from the crossing points in south-western province of Balochistan, said Hamza Shafqat, commissioner Quetta.

Mr Rabbi said that more than 4,000 refugees were leaving the country through the Torkham border crossing every day.

According to government figures, around 4.4 million Afghan refugees live in Pakistan, 1.7 million of them without valid documents.

Pakistan has said it will facilitate the resettlement to the U.S. of 25,000 Afghans who worked for the U.S. during its war in Afghanistan and fled their country after the Taliban takeover in spite of the current crackdown.

Pakistan ordered the expulsions after months of tensions with the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan surrounding cross-border attacks that Islamabad blamed on Islamist militants operating from the Afghan side.

Observers see the expulsion as a way of pressuring the Taliban to take action against militants near the border.