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Afghan Refugees Stranded At Pakistan Border - 2002-07-04


The United Nations Refugee Agency says more than 25-thousand Afghans trying to enter Pakistan are stranded at the border following Islamabad's decision to shut its doors to refugees.

In a statement released today (Thursday), the U-N agency said Pakistani authorities have been holding the Afghans at a detention center since Pakistan decided to close its border to Afghan refugees in February.

Most of the refugees are Pashtuns who fled the northern cities of Shibarghan and Mazar-e-Sharif because they fear violence from the dominant Uzbek groups.

The refugee agency says it has completed a head-count of the Afghans to help aid agencies provide them with the necessary relief. The agency said six-thousand families are waiting at the detention center.

More than one-million Afghans have also crossed Pakistan's border in the other direction to return home under a U-N- sponsored repatriation program that began in March.

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