Since 01 January, UNHCR assisted the return of 740 Afghan refugees from Iran (574), Pakistan (117) and other countries (49) including Tajikistan, India, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation, under its facilitated voluntary repatriation programme. After a temporary suspension of voluntary repatriation between 04 March and 29 April due to COVID-19, UNHCR resumed its facilitated voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees from Iran as of 30 April and from Pakistan and other countries as of 10 August.
Refugee returnees receive a multi-purpose cash grant (on average USD 250 per person) and other services at Encashment Centers (ECs) located in Herat, Kandahar, Kabul, and Nangarhar provinces. UNHCR’s cash grants to refugee returnees are intended to prevent, reduce, and respond to immediate protection risks and vulnerabilities upon return to Afghanistan.
According to MoRR/IOM, during the weeks of 30 August – 05 September, the total number of undocumented returnees from Iran was 16,664 (8,501 deportees and 8,163 spontaneous returnees) and from Pakistan was 803 (776 spontaneous returnees and 27 deportees). Since 01 January, the total number of undocumented returnees is 506,045 individuals, including 502,263 from Iran (328,803 spontaneous returnees and 173,460 deportees) and 3,782 from Pakistan (3,611 spontaneous returnees and 171 deportees).
Between 30 August - 05 September 2020, a total of 150,965 Afghans crossed through Spin Boldak into Afghanistan, while 151,003 people crossed into Pakistan. Torkham border was opened for pedestrian movement on 05 September during which a total of 8,770 stranded Afghans crossed into Afghanistan and 1,623 stranded Pakistanis crossed into Pakistan As of 21 August, Spin Boldak crossing point will be open seven days a week for pedestrians and commercial trucks. In addition, as of 25 August, Torkham border is open on Mondays and Tuesdays for refugee returnee’s movement to Afghanistan, while it will continue to be open once a week (on Saturdays) for undocumented returnees and other pedestrian movements.