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Over 40 Afghan families leave Khyber Agency

LANDI KOTAL/CHARSADDA: More than 40 unregistered Afghan families vacated their houses in Malagori area of Jamrud tehsil in Khyber Agency after the expiry of the deadline given to them a month ago for leaving the area.

Sources said that most of those families were residing in Malak Kali Sher Bridge for almost four decades. `These Afghan families belonged to nomad Kochi tribe of Afghanistan and had long settled in different localities of Malagori,` Zahid Khan, a local resident, told Dawn.

The local khasadars said that most of those families also demolished their houses and sold their household items at cheaper rates before proceeding to Torkham border.

The returning Afghan families had tried in futility to convince the local Frontier Corps and political administration officials for an extension of at least two months in the deadline for vacating their houses.

The local administration had warned the illegal Afghans a month ago of a possible crackdown against them if they failed to leave Khyber Agency before July 14. The local elders too were cautioned against sheltering nonlocals, especially illegal Afghans, in their personal properties. They were told to identify all such elements currently residing in Malagori.

Sajid Khan, a young Afghan, told Dawn by telephone that most of the 43 families were uncertain about their destination in Afghanistan as they had long abandoned their properties in their country and settled down in Malagori and other surrounding areas of Jamrud.

Sajid Khan worked in a local marble factory for almost a decade while his parents and other relatives had also taken up alternate jobs and professions for a livelihood.

In Charsadda, police and security personnel informed all illegal Afghans through loudspeakers to leave Shabgaddar tehsil till July 15 otherwise stern action would be taken against them. The announcements were made in Pir Qilla, Dalazak, Kunra Colony, Saro Kali Kor, Ankor Kor, Shno Ghundai, Mitchni, Shahbaz Khan Koroona, Matta Mughulkhel, Saddar Garhi, Munda Camp and other nearby areas. Sources said that a large number of illegal Afghan refugees were residing in those areas.

-Dawn Report