Afghans in Pakistan

Afghans in Pakistan (Urdu: افغان مهاجرين‎, Afghan Muhajreen) primarily constitute refugees who have fled wars in Afghanistan, but there are small numbers of Afghan asylum seekers, migrant workers, merchants, businesspeople, exchange students and diplomats. Most were born and raised in Pakistan and are under age 30, but are still considered citizens of Afghanistan. They are under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and have been given legal status in Pakistan until the end of 2017, which has been subsequently extended by the government every year.

The first wave of Afghan refugees to Pakistan began during the Soviet–Afghan War in the late 1970s. By the end of 2001, there were over four million. Most have returned to Afghanistan since 2002 but 1,435,445 still remain in Pakistan as of December 2020, distributed as follows: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (62 percent); Balochistan (20 percent); Punjab (10 percent); Sindh (4 percent) and Islamabad (2 percent).

They are primarily Afghanistan's Pashtuns, followed by Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Baloch and Turkmen. In March 2012, Pakistan banned visa extensions for all foreigners.


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