Nearly three thousand expelled Afghan migrant families from Pakistan have relocated to the provinces of Jawzjan, Faryab, Sar-e Pol, and Samangan. According to sources, as per the Taliban’s directives, 1,300 families have moved to Jawzjan, 1,100 to Faryab, 410 to Sar-e Pol, and another 50 to Samangan. Residents of these provinces claim that the majority of these migrant families are related to members of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and inhabitants of the “Shamshato Refugee Camp” affiliated with the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA).
Damllah Amanullah Talah, the head of the Directorate of Refugee and Repatriation for the Taliban in Jawzjan province, states that over the past five months, 1,300 Afghan migrant families returning from Pakistan have resettled in this province. He mentioned that among these migrants, 110 families have returned from Iran. Talah added that the returning migrants have settled in remote villages near the city of Sheberghan and the districts of Mardyan, Qush Tepa, Mangajik, Khaniqa, Khum Ab, Darzab, Faizabad, Aqcha, and Khwaja Du Koh.
Local Taliban officials in Jawzjan report that 50 families returning from Pakistan have been relocated to this province so far. Mohammad Hussain Khalid Khaksar, the head of the Directorate of Refugee and Repatriation for the Taliban in this province, stated that a committee has been formed to address the issues of these migrants. Mullah Dadkhuda Khadem, the deputy governor of the Taliban in Samangan province, heads the committee, and representatives from the intelligence, public health, and ethnic and tribal affairs departments of this group are members. The local Taliban officials added that with the control of this group, 1,700 acres of land in the vicinity of the city of Aybak, the capital of Samangan province, have been allocated to migrants, 570 acres of which were previously distributed by the previous government. Sources claim that more than a thousand other families are expected to be relocated by the Taliban in this province.
Meanwhile, local Taliban officials in Sar-e Pol province state that in the past two months, 410 families of returning migrants from Pakistan have been resettled in this province. Food supplies and health packages have been distributed to them by the Directorate of Refugee and Repatriation of the Taliban for this province. These migrants have been resettled in the districts of Balkhab, Sancharak, Kohistanat, and Gosfandi.
On the other hand, the Taliban in Faryab province have reported the relocation of 1,100 families to this province. According to them, the majority of these migrants have been expelled from Pakistan and have settled in the vicinity of Maimana city and the districts of Andkhoy, Dowlatabad, Khwaja Sabzpoosh, Almar, and Balcharagh.
Sources indicate that Taliban fighters, with military vehicles, are transferring families of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) members and residents of the Shamshato Refugee Camp in Pakistan to northern provinces. One of the returning families from Pakistan, who prefers to remain anonymous, spoke to the Hasht-e Subh Daily, stating that a few days ago, they were forcibly expelled by the Pakistani police with their family. He claims that at the Torkham border, the Taliban asked him which Afghan province he was from, then referred him and his family to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and, after receiving cash, they were sent to Jawzjan province with a military vehicle of the Taliban. This man continues to assert, “The Taliban transfer those families whose native language is Pashto or those associated with the Shamshato Refugee Camp through military vehicles.” He emphasizes, “The Taliban’s treatment is not uniform. They deal harshly with non-Pashtun migrants.”
Shekab Mohammadi, a resident of Almar district in Faryab province, shares a similar account, stating that migrants relocated by the Taliban to the villages of this district have no familiarity with the geographical area and all speak in Urdu. He adds that approximately 50 families have been transferred to this district in the past two months, and there are concerns that the influx of Pakistani migrants to this district may increase.
A resident of the Mardyan district in Jawzjan province remarks, “The migrants who have recently arrived here from Pakistan cannot speak Persian and Uzbek.”
On the other hand, some residents and bus drivers report that Pashtuns affiliated with the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) from the Shamshato Refugee Camp in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are being relocated by the Taliban in various districts.
Latif, a bus driver in Jawzjan province, states that he sees dozens of military vehicles of the Taliban transporting migrants daily on the highways of Jawzjan and Kabul, relocating them to different northern provinces. He adds, “I spoke with one of the migrants in a restaurant in Pol-e Khomri. This migrant, in Pakistani Urdu, told me that he has lived for 20 years in the Shamshato Refugee Camp in Peshawar, Pakistan. Now, based on a political agreement with the Taliban, he is supposed to be resettled in one of the northern provinces of the country.”
However, a former government security official states that the initial rule of the Taliban over Afghanistan suffered a blow in the northern and northeastern provinces of the country. Now, the group aims to alter the demographic makeup in the north to secure its continued governance. The former security official adds, “If members of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and residents of the Shamshato Refugee Camp affiliated with the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) in the north of the country are relocated, military movements against neighboring countries, particularly Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, will likely increase in the coming years. In this regard, the Taliban will spare no effort.”
Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson for the Taliban, commented on the relocation of families affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), stating that some Pakistani migrant families are being moved to the southern and northern regions of Afghanistan.
Shamshato is the name of a region located 15 kilometers southeast of the city of Peshawar, Pakistan. According to reports from Pakistani media, the majority of residents in this camp are affiliated with the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. There are indications that individuals in this camp were involved in armed conflicts against the former government of Afghanistan.
In mid-2017, the Human Rights Watch website reported that it possessed documents indicating that the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) was holding some political rivals, activists from non-governmental organizations, and journalists in detention in Shamshato.