Afghan Refugee Camps in Pakistan Close Due to Lack of Security

Security concerns on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border have resulted in the closing of 16 Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan over the past two weeks. These closings will affect over 110,000 Afghan refugees, the overwhelming majority of whom are women and children.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that they have returned over 2.4 million Afghan refugees to Afghanistan since 2002. However, the refugees are returning to bleak conditions in Afghanistan, with virtually no clean water, electricity, shelter, and few options for rebuilding their livelihood. The resurgence of warlords and Taliban forces has caused deteriorating security and increasing violence. As a result of the killings and threats to humanitarian aid workers in Afghanistan, 44 percent of humanitarian aid organizations have had to cut back projects.

An elderly refugee of the Bagazi camp referred to as Mr. Shakaib said, “We know this is politics. They are trying to tell the world that Afghanistan is safe, which is a total lie,” reports Ockenden International, a British non-governmental organization working with Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

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Ockenden International 6/22/05, Reuters 6/21/05; Feminist Majority

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