'Don't leave, it's your nation': Taliban to Afghans trying to flee to Pakistan
Maulvi Noor Mohammad Saeed, a Taliban spokesman in Kandahar province, stated that the authorities were requesting that "people and families not leave the country."
Thousands of Afghans seeking to flee the suffering at home have gathered to their country's southern border with Pakistan, but the Taliban have thwarted their attempts to enter. Zakariullah, who is waiting on a dirt road in the trade village of Spin Boldak, barely a few hundred metres from Pakistan, claims he has been turned back several times, sometimes forcefully. "They say only individuals with documents from the region," Zakariullah, a 25-year-old farmer and father of three, told AFP over the weekend. He further said that there are no jobs and want to cross the border and work there. Afghans, according to the new Taliban leadership, must remain and reconstruct their conflict-ravaged nation.
"'It's your nation,' they say. 'You should not go,'" said Rahmadin Wardak, 25, who was also attempting to flee. On the opposite side of the border, their Pakistani colleagues in Chaman were also detaining individuals attempting to cross.
"Every day, 8,000 to 9,000 individuals try to enter the border without the required paperwork and are sent back," said Mullah Maulvi Haqyar, a Taliban border guard. Maulvi Noor Mohammad Saeed, a Taliban spokesman in Kandahar province, stated that the authorities were requesting that "people and families not leave the country."
However, thousands of Afghans are willing to flee a nation that has been on the edge of economic collapse since Islamists seized power in mid-August and foreign assistance money has run out. Jobs have been lost, and farmers are suffering as a result of the drought. The United Nations has warned that starvation is threatening one-third of the world's population.
On Thursday, the Taliban announced a total closure of the gates in protest of Pakistan, which has repeatedly said that it will not admit Afghan refugees, accusing officials of putting obstacles in the way of Afghans with the proper documentation. Meanwhile, the UNHCR has not recorded large-scale migrations to the frontiers. With the conflict finished, some Afghan refugees in Pakistan have returned home. However, the agency announced last month that it was making contingency plans for up to 500,000 people to flee to neighbouring nations by the end of the year.