Thousands of Afghans living in Pakistan raced to the border yesterday ahead of a midnight deadline for undocumented foreigners to leave the country.
Pakistan says 1.7 million such people must leave by 1 November or face arrest and deportation. Most are Afghans.
Many refugees are terrified, having fled Afghanistan after the Taliban retook control in 2021. Others have been in Pakistan for decades.
“Where will we go if we are forced to leave Pakistan?” asked one young woman.
Sadia, who has been studying in Peshawar in north-west Pakistan, said she escaped Afghanistan two years ago for a chance at getting an education, after the Taliban government barred girls and women from school under its harsh version of Islamic law.
Tensions between the countries soared after a spike in cross-border attacks, which Islamabad blames on Afghanistan-based militants.
Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban, who deny providing sanctuary for militants targeting Pakistan, have called the move to deport undocumented Afghans “unacceptable”.