WASHINGTON: With more and more Afghan civilians attempting to cross borders into neighbouring countries to escape the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan has warned that it cannot bear the burden of hosting more Afghan refugees.
Addressing a press conference in Washington DC, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf said that safe zones should be established within Afghanistan for the refugees, Geo News reported.
"Unfortunately, Afghan soil has been used for activities against Pakistan in the past," he said, adding that the territory is still being used for subversive activities in Pakistan.
The Pakistan government says that the country hosts more than three million Afghan refugees, half of them unregistered, over the years. As violence in Afghanistan escalates, Pakistan fears that more Afghan civilians will flee their homes to Pakistan.
Last month, it was reported that the Pakistan government said that it has reached its limit and cannot accept more Afghan refugees as the threat of violence looms in Afghanistan.
At present, there are two key borders crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan -- Chaman in Balochistan and Torkham in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa -- apart from several small trading points.
The two countries share a 2,640-kilometre boundary. Pakistan has fenced nearly 90 per cent of the boundary and deployed the army and the Frontier Constabulary, a militia under the federal interior ministry, to man it.
As the Taliban escalated its offensive against civilians and security forces, Pakistan has estimated it would receive as many as 700,000 new refugees in the first year alone.
In June, in an interview with The New York Times, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan would not open its borders to refugees if the situation deteriorated in Afghanistan.