UNHCR to resume Afghan refugees repatriation from Pakistan from March 1
KABUL, Feb 28, 2008 (Xinhua) — The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) would resume the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan from this coming Saturday, a spokesman of the agency in Afghanistan said Thursday.
“The UNHCR-assisted voluntary repatriation of registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan would be resumed from Pakistan on March 1st, 2008,” the UNHCR spokesman, Nadir Farhad, told Xinhua.
From the first of March, the first batch of registered refugees would be repatriated to their home country from Quetta, the provincial capital of Pakistan’s Balouchistan province, while the second batch of refugees would be dispatched from Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), he added.
More than 2 million Afghans are still living in Pakistan as refugees, and nearly the same number including 920,000 registered ones are in the neighboring Iran.
“Registered Afghans who choose to voluntarily repatriate with UNHCR assistance during the year can approach the Voluntary Repatriation Centers (VRCs) located in Peshawar and Quetta,” the UNHCR spokesman stressed.
Any registered refugee wishing to return homeland with UNHCR assistance will get an average of 100 U.S. dollars per individual as a transport and re-integration grant to help them settle in Afghanistan based on distances to their destination.
Some 5 million Afghan refugees have returned home with over 4 million under UNHCR-assisted voluntary repatriation province since the collapse of Taliban regime six years ago.