321 undocumented Afghans returned from Pakistan
2,578 undocumented Afghans returned from Iran
9,607 total returns from Pakistan since 1 January 2017
44,425 total returns from Iran since 1 January 2017
8% of returnees from Pakistan (26 individuals) assisted
11% of returnees from Iran (285 individuals) assisted
Returns from Pakistan
From 19-25 February 2017, a total of 321 undocumented Afghans spontaneously returned or were deported from Pakistan through Torkham border (Nangarhar province) and Spin Boldak border (Kandahar province), according to the Border Monitoring Team of the Directorate of Refugees and Repatria-tion (DoRR). This is a 67% decrease in returns from the previous week. All of the returnees were deported individuals. This brings the total number of undocumented Afghan returnees from Pakistan to 9,607 since 1 January 2017.
During the reporting period, IOM assisted 26 (8%) undocumented Afghan returnees from Pakistan, all of them special cases. The support provided includes meals and accommodation at IOM’s Transit Centers near the border, household supplies and other Non-Food Items (NFIs) for families, special assistance to Persons with Specific Needs (PSNs), and other assistance from partners.
Torkham and Spin Boldak borders have been closed since 17 February due to recent security incidents in Pakistan. The borders remain closed as of 25 February.
Islam Qala border with Iran was temporarily closed during the reporting period because of flash floods in the vicinity of the border. Heavy mud (10-15 cm) and water levels have affected border infrastructure. It is anticipated that the border crossing will remain closed for at least one week.
IOM is responding to a substantial increase in the return of undocumented Afghans from Pakistan and Iran. Since 1 January 2016, over 746,000 undocumented Afghans have returned due to diverse push factors, including deteriorating protection space in Pakistan.
Many of those returning have lived outside of Afghanistan for decades, and will need support from the government and humanitarian actors both on arrival and as they seek to reintegrate into a country already struggling with widespread conflict and displacement.
While returns have declined in line with seasonal trends during winter, previous surges in returns have been unpredictable and an estimated 1 million undocumented Afghans still remain in Pakistan. IOM is prepared to respond to increased needs and is appealing for additional funding to continue its emergency response programming.
Returns from Iran
A total of 2,578 undocumented Afghans spontaneously returned or were deported from Iran through Islam Qala (Herat) and Milak (Nimroz) border crossings from 19–25 February, a 4% decrease compared with the previous week. Out of the total, 998 were spon-taneous returnees and 1,580 were deportees. This brings the total number of undocumented returnees from Iran since 1 January 2017 to 44,425.
IOM provided post-arrival humanitarian assistance to 285 (11%) undocumented Afghans arriving from Iran at its Transit Centers in Herat and Nimroz. The bodies of nine Afghans killed in a car crash in Yazd, Iran were repatriated to their home province of Faryab.