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Cablegate: Pakistanis Enter Kunar Province, Afghanistan, To

VZCZCXRO9191
PP RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #3405 2981047
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251047Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2443
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 8046

UNCLAS KABUL 003405

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF UNHCR ICRC XD
SUBJECT: PAKISTANIS ENTER KUNAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN, TO
ESCAPE MILITARY ACTION IN PAKISTAN

1.(SBU) SUMMARY. Pakistanis from the Bajaur area have
entered Kunar Province in Afghanistan to escape military
action in Pakistan. The reported number moving across the
border varies from 1,200-5,000, but actual figures are still
to be confirmed. Forward Operating Base Joyce, international
organizations, including the United Nations High Commission
for Refugees (UNHCR) implementing partners and the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Afghan
provincial authorities are monitoring the situation and
attempting to assess the number of people affected. The area
is remote and largely inaccessible and most Pakistanis remain
deep in the valley. END SUMMARY

2.(SBU) With increased military action ongoing in Pakistan
along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, Pakistani families are
moving to safety into Shaigal and Dangam Districts in the Bar
Sholtan and Lar Sholtan Valleys of Kunar Province. On
October 17, a combined team from FOB Joyce met under the
direction of the Shaigal District Sub Governor, Mohd Zahir
Safi, and went into Sholtan Valley to assess the situation.
The refugees estimate that 1,000 families crossed the border
and are living with Afghan relatives. A small number came
down with the elders to meet with ANSF and coalition members
and receive humanitarian assistance (HA) at the ICRC in Bar
Sholtan. The team provided limited quantities of blankets,
shoes, food, and personal care items. The District Sub
Governor asked that HA not be dropped via CDS saying "the
powerful will take it all and it will not go to those who
need it."

3. (SBU) In an October 19 conversation, Sardar Khan of the
Department of Refugees and Repatriation informed us that
Afghan provincial authorities assigned an emergency
commission to survey the families and determine their needs.
The commission includes representatives from the Afghan Red
Crescent Society, the Department of Rural Rehabilitation and
Development, the Department of Refugees and Repatriation, the
Department of Public Health, the district governor, and UNHCR
implementing partners. The survey was projected to be
completed on October 22, but it is still ongoing because most
of the areas are inaccessible due to insecurity.
Distribution of non-food items continues through the
emergency commission.

4. (U) In the meantime, Task Force Chosin in eastern and
northern Kunar has distributed basic foodstuffs, such as
rice, beans, oil, blankets, and tents. Task Force Mountain
Warrior purchased and delivered medicine for 1,2000 people
per a request from a private doctor. The ANA and ANP are
distributing the HA to put an Afghan face on the
distribution. Task Force Chosin reported strong cooperation
and leadership by the ANA and ANP in responding to the
situation.

5. (U) UNHCR and ICRC note that, in general, displacement
across the border into Afghanistan has been temporary.
Embassy Kabul Refugee Coordinator and Border Coordinator will
continue to monitor the situation through their contacts in
the field and in coordination with Embassy Islamabad.
EIKENBERRY

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