The government of Baluchistan province in Pakistan has set targets for police to arrest and deport hundreds of thousands of Afghans who it says are in the country illegally, Reuters reported Thursday.
Near the Chaman border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, local residents have been staging protests against new travel visa requirements aimed at reducing illegal immigration, disrupting traffic in the area.
Some of those targeted for deportation had apparently gone to remote areas of Pakistan to avoid arrest, authorities said.
The decision came days after authorities at the two key border crossings, Torkham in the north-west and Chaman in the south-west, acknowledged that there had been a sudden decrease in the number of Afghans sent back to Afghanistan after being arrested on charges of living in Pakistan illegally.
An estimated 1.7 million Afghans were living in Pakistan in October when authorities announced the crackdown, saying that anyone without proper documents had to go back to their countries by the end of the month or be arrested.
Since then, more than 400,000 Afghans have returned to their home country.