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Arrests Of Afghan Refugees On The Rise In Pakistan

Afghan refugees returning from Pakistan
PUNJAB, Pakistan -- Afghan refugees in Pakistan say that arrests of Afghans are increasing in the country's eastern Punjab Province.

Awami National Party spokesman Zahid Khan told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that what the "government is doing against [the ethnic] Pashtuns and Afghans deserves condemnation."

Arrests have escalated since Baytullah Mehsoud, Pakistan's Taliban leader, announced that he had sent suicide bombers into the province to attack a military school in Lahore. Pakistani authorities in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad arrested some 800 Afghans after Mehsoud claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees have been living in Pakistan since the 1980s, and the number is now thought to be more than 2 million.