Those arriving in Afghanistan complained of hardships.
“We spent three days on (the) border in Pakistan. We had a very bad situation,” said Mohammad Ismael Rafi, 55, who said he lived for 22 years in the south-western Pakistani border town of Chaman where he had a retail business.
“Thank God that we have arrived back to our country,” he said. It took him six days to leave his home in Pakistan with his 16 family members and belongings to reach a makeshift tent village on the other side of the border.
Rafi accused Pakistani officials of taking bribes, a charge Islamabad denies.
Afghan schoolboy Sarfraz, 16, who goes by one name, said he and his father had never visited Afghanistan and did not want to go there now. His grandfather migrated to Pakistan decades ago.
“Where should we go?” he asked in response to a Reuters query in north-western Peshawar. “There is no work there. We’re poor people. We are being forced. We have to leave.”
The Taliban administration in Afghanistan, scrambling to cope with the sudden influx, has set up temporary transit camps where food and medical assistance will be provided.
Refugee groups have reported chaotic and desperate scenes at the camps.
Pakistani authorities started rounding up foreigners, most of them Afghans, hours before the deadline.
Many of the migrants fled Afghanistan during the decades of armed conflict since the late 1970s, while the Taliban’s takeover after the withdrawal of US-led coalition forces in 2021 led to another exodus.
Khan, the official, said 19,744 Afghans had crossed the Torkham border on Thursday, 147,949 in total since the government announced the deadline. More than 35,000 have left through southwestern Pakistani border crossing at Chaman.
Pakistani authorities said they were open to delaying repatriation for people with health or other issues, including a seven-month pregnant woman who was told on Friday to stay in Pakistan until she had given birth.
Source: Channel News Asia