PESHAWAR: Hundreds of thousands of Afghans living in Pakistan faced detention and deportation on Wednesday, as a government deadline for them to leave sparked a mass exodus.

The government has given 1.7 million Afghans it says are living illegally in the country until Nov. 1 to leave voluntarily or be forcibly removed.

Thousands joined a snaking queue that stretched 7 kilometers at the busiest border point on Wednesday, with border officials reporting at least 29,000 people crossed into Afghanistan the day before.

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