Pakistani officials said Tuesday that the United States did not object to Islamabad’s deportation of Afghan nationals who are residing in the country but requested the process be slowed down during winter.
The crackdown on undocumented foreigners, including 1.7 million Afghans, came under discussion at a meeting with a visiting U.S. delegation led by Julieta Valls Noyes, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
A Pakistani official privy to the talks said that the U.S. side sought to prevent the deportation of around 25,000 “vulnerable” individuals who fled the Taliban’s August 2021 takeover in neighboring Afghanistan and could be eligible for relocation to or resettlement in the United States.
“The government of Pakistan doesn't want to deport any vulnerable Afghan, irrespective of whether someone appears on the U.S. prospective resettlement list or any other country,” the official told VOA on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to share details of the talks publicly.
“Pakistan is concerned over the lengthy resettlement process the U.S. has adopted,” he said. “One thing is clear: The U.S. didn't oppose Pakistan’s deportation policy. It, however, pleaded for going slow during the harsh winters,” the Pakistani official told VOA.