Afghan Refugee and Repatriation Minister Jamahir Anwari on Saturday said an agreement had been reached on voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan.
Anwari told a news conference in Kabul he discussed the issue of unregistered refugees with his Pakistani counterpart and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representatives in Islamabad last week.
The migrants would voluntarily return to their homeland under a mechanism agreed at the meeting, added the minister, who headed a seven-member delegation at talks with Pakistani officials.
He said the proposed mechanism would be worked out within a month’s time after a survey based on Afghanistan’s capacity to facilitate the returnees.
"We met for two days with Pakistani and International Organization for Migration (IOM) officials and refugee representatives and agreed on a mechanism for voluntary repatriation."
Despite social and economic problems, Anwari said they were ready to provide necessary facilities for 450,000 returnees. Of the 1.7 million Afghans living in Pakistan, 400,000 were residing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province alone, he said.
In response to a question, the minister said representatives from Iran and Pakistan in last month’s Geneva conference had agreed to facilitate the Afghans returning to their homeland voluntarily.
According to UNHCR, about 5.7 million Afghans have returned home, especially from Pakistan and Iran, over the past 10 years.