This report is supported by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives

November 7, 2023

Staff Report

“Forcibly returning Afghan journalists who have fled to Pakistan would be a flagrant violation of international law and completely unacceptable,” a statement from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said, reiterating that some of them were those who had published sensitive information and were the subject of threats and many had fled to Pakistan seeking refuge.
The statement said that by deporting them back to Afghanistan they would be exposed to danger. RSF urged the Pakistani government to guarantee their protection and security in Pakistan, and not to deport them.
Over 200 Afghan journalists have been threatened with deportation since the government’s announcement of sending back undocumented Afghan citizens by the first week of November.
Intense Fear 
RSF stated that it had interviewed several of the journalists who have expressed intense fear of going back to Afghanistan, and they report an increase in violence against them since the government issued its expulsion threat.
Journalists who were interviewed said they were subjected to harassment and extortion by Pakistani police officers, arbitrary arrest, pressure on landlords to expel Afghan tenants and never-ending visa application procedures, and the additional threat of being sent back to Afghanistan.

An Afghan journalist compared being sent back to a life-and-death situation.


“A forced return to Afghanistan would be tantamount to sending us to the slaughterhouse,” said a journalist who had come to Pakistan in September 2022 on condition of anonymity. He fled after a foreign TV channel he worked for broadcast a report that went against the Taliban authorities who later threatened him for it.


Even in Pakistan, despite his temporary residence permit, he is being harassed by the police.

“I am being prosecuted in my country on charges of spying for foreign media, sabotage and negative propaganda, as well as supporting women’s rights. Death awaits me there.”

Another journalist said that he had to flee to Pakistan in July 2022, after covering stories involving Taliban violence, especially against women and girls. He was told at the last minute that an armed group was planning to kill him.

“I had to leave my country in order to stay alive. After i left some of my family members were arrested. now if i return they will kill me.”

Another journalist said that he was arrested and tortured by Taliban twice in Afghanistan, after Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021.

In January 2022, my former torturers located my new home and inflicted serious injuries to my head and neck. I managed to escape in March 2022 after several weeks in hiding. But If the Pakistani police deport me, my life will be in great danger.”

‘Unbearable pressure’

When Pakistani intelligence officials detained one other journalist for five hours and searched his phone and emails, he suddenly felt the weight of the pressure.

Before fleeing to Pakistan in June 2022, he was based in northern Afghanistan but had been threatened and arrested several times by the Taliban.


In his interview, he said that he now feels his daily existence becoming more and more unbearable, no longer daring to leave home. His two children cannot go to school, his wife is showing increasing signs of psychological stress, and the owner of the building where they are living recently told them they have to leave.

I implore the countries that are known to take refugees to provide their help now to those of us who are in danger. I ask them to take action and to rescue us. In my country, I risk being killed. There is only a short time left before the actual expulsion of undocumented Afghans begins.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here