The Spin Boldak border crossing, in the southwest, the most used by refugees, would be the beginning of the long route to Europe
Thousands of Afghans are trying to cross borders with neighboring countries following the collapse of evacuation operations at Kabul airport. The number of refugees at the border crossings with Pakistan would have multiplied in the last hours, according to local media. At least three Afghans are said to have been shot dead by Pakistani troops on the Torkham border, close to Kabul, which remains closed to prevent the spread of the covid.
The pass used by “hundreds of thousands in recent weeks”, according to the daily ‘The Guardian’, is that of Spin Boldak-Chaman, in the southwest. According to the account of the British newspaper, many refugees walk for days to reach the border and later reach Iran, which is home to about three million citizens of the neighboring country, fled from the endless war. This border crossing could be the beginning of a route to Turkey and finally to European countries.
The Islamabad government has asked hoteliers in the capital not to accept reservations for the next three weeks to host Afghan refugees who would arrive with the intention of flying to other countries. That request seems to be an echo of the recommendation, by the British Minister of Defense, Ben Wallace, to the thousand of British passport holders and a hundred of Afghans who will not be evacuated, that they try to reach neighboring countries.
The Pakistan-Afghanistan border has played an essential role in the war. Allied governments have accused the Pakistani Army and its intelligence service of protecting and training the Taliban. This Friday, its diplomats denied that the perpetrators of the attack at the Kabul airport came from their territory. And the government would have obtained guarantees from the Afghan Taliban that it will not allow the Pakistani Taliban to carry out attacks on its territory.
Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moheed Yusuf rejected the accusations against his government in a virtual conference before a British audience on Thursday, noting that the border is porous, with multiple uncontrolled crossings. He recalled that his government had repeatedly proposed an agreement to establish more rigorous controls than the one established in Kabul under the protection of the United States and its allies, but it was always rejected.
Pakistan is home to some three million Afghan refugees and is creating camps to house those who have fled in recent weeks. The United Nations is involved in financing these camps, but the Islamabad authorities say they cannot permanently host more refugees and that they will be deported when circumstances allow.
The Government of Pakistan maintains more fluid relations with the United Kingdom than with the administration in Washington. Councilor Yusuf emphasized in his conference that Islamabad and London can cooperate in the stabilization of Afghanistan, but warned that Afghans who have collaborated with the government supported by the allies and those who did not should be treated differently.
For his part, the Prime Minister, Imran Khan, advocated, in his first public intervention after the reconquest of the Taliban, for an understanding with the organization, for having committed to an inclusive governance and the refusal to host groups that plan terrorist acts in other countries. The country’s military commanders affirmed that they had anticipated the arrival of a new wave of refugees and that the border crossings are operating normally.