Pakistan expects some five lakh fresh Afghan refugees in case of a civil war in neighbouring Afghanistan, according to a media report here on Wednesday, amidst the Taliban militants gaining rapid strides in the war-torn country. The Express Tribune reported that this time the Pakistani authorities insist refugees would be kept at special camps in the bordering areas instead of letting them in the settled parts of the country.
Afghan refugees started coming to Pakistan following the invasion by the former Soviet Union in 1979. Pakistan has been pushing to send them back but it may face fresh waves of refugees if Afghanistan plunged into civil war.
Pakistan expects half a million fresh Afghan refugees in case of a civil war in Afghanistan, the report said. At a recent briefing given to a select group of parliamentarians, the military authorities in Pakistan painted grim prospects of any peace in Afghanistan.
The members of parliament were told that Afghanistan was fast descending into civil war, something that did not bode well for Pakistan. The negative fallout of unrest in Afghanistan includes a rise in terrorism and a fresh influx of Afghan refugees, the report said.
Pakistani officials, quoted by the newspaper, said although Taliban gains were quite rapid in recent weeks, the situation could change if the Afghan security forces show some resistance. In recent weeks, the insurgents have seized nearly a third of Afghanistan’s rural districts and besieged several provincial capitals.
Hundreds of Afghan security force members have fled into neighbouring Tajikistan in the face of Taliban advances since the US vacated its main Afghan base as part of a plan to withdraw all foreign troops by September 11. Therefore, it is too early to predict where things are heading in Afghanistan. The situation at best is volatile and unpredictable, a Pakistani official said when asked about the chances of Afghanistan slipping into another phase of chaos.