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Cablegate: Competent Response to Pakistani Refugees From Bajaur

VZCZCXRO1323
RR RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #2361 2420349
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290349Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5349
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 5208
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS KABUL 002361

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, EB/TPP/ATP, PRM
DEPT PASS USAID/ASIA BUREAU, AID/ANE, DCHA/FFP, DCHA/OFDA
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CG CJTF-82, POLAD, JICCENT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR EAID PHUM PREF PGOV PREL PK AF
SUBJECT: Competent Response to Pakistani Refugees From Bajaur

1. (U) Summary: Beginning the week of August 6, Afghan refugee and
Pakistani families living in Bajaur and Mohmand Tribal Agencies in
Pakistan began fleeing into Afghanistan due to Pakistani military
operations. UNHCR estimates approximately 2,000-3,000 refugee
families have crossed into Kunar province. Media and UN estimates
of internally displaced persons remaining in Pakistan ranges from
50,000 to 300,000 but the number is likely closer to 200,000.

2. (SBU) Following Kunar Governor Wahidi's provincial government
emergency management meeting, provincial authorities (Departments of
Refugees and Repatriation, Rural Reconstruction and Development,
Women's Affairs, Public Health, Afghan Red Crescent) and
international organizations (UNHCR , UNICEF, WFP, ICRC) promptly
verified numbers, distributed aid, and provided services to most of
the refugee families. The Asadabad PRT had just restocked
provincial authorities' food and material supplies and will provide
more assistance if requested. IROA and international assistance
will continue for several days and food will be distributed in three
weeks, if necessary. Provincial authorities have handled the
situation well, though there is some evidence of minor corruption
regarding aid distribution,

3. (SBU) Refugees have settled primarily with friends or family; no
tent cities have sprung up. The refugees have been mainly women and
children, as most men have remained behind to fight or protect
family compounds. Approximately two-thirds of the families are
Pakistani and one-third Afghan. Post has asked provincial
authorities not to highlight the refugees' citizenship or the
"generous" Afghan assistance, for fear that many "Pakistanis" are
actually Afghans living illegally in Pakistan, and the Pakistani
government could refuse them re-entry once fighting stops. All
involved expect the refugees to return to their homes in Bajaur and
elsewhere once the fighting subsides.

4. (SBU) Post is closely following UNHCR and ICRC aid distribution
in Kunar, which is being carried out with PRM funds. Both
organizations believe they have sufficient resources to handle the
current situation, provided it does not drag on for several months.


5. (U) This cable is cleared by Embassy Islamabad.

WOOD

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