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Security: UNHCR Suspends Afghan Refugee Returns

UN Refugee Agency suspends Afghan refugee returns

12 May 2008 - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has temporarily suspended the repatriation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan through Peshawar because of concerns over security.

A spokesperson for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Nilab Mobarez, told a news conference in Kabul today that the UNHCR-assisted voluntary return operation had been suspended because of security considerations in Afghanistan's eastern province of Nangarhar.

Mr. Mobarez said these concerns had compelled UNHCR to close down the encashment Centre in Jalalabad that assists Afghans returning from Pakistan. He added that UNHCR hoped to reopen the voluntary repatriation centre soon.

There are some two million registered Afghans in Pakistan and approximately one million in Iran. UNHCR says it expects between 150,000 and 200,000 Afghans to return from Pakistan this year - similar to the amount of people who returned in 2005 and 2006.

ENDS

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