The United Nations says the number of refugees returning to Afghanistan has exceeded its expectations for the entire year, prompting relief agencies to call for increased donations.
The U-N refugee agency said (Thursday) about 800-thousand refugees have returned to Afghanistan since voluntary repatriation began three months ago. The agency says it had planned to assist about 800-thousand refugees return home over the course of the entire year.
A U-N spokesman (Ragnhild Ek) says the repatriation is the largest and fastest since the return of refugees to Kosovo in 1999.
Most of the refugees are returning to Afghanistan after years in exile in Pakistan, Iran, or other neighboring countries. U-N officials say thousands of refugees have been crossing the border each day since the program was launched on March first.
The refugee agency says it is now concerned about its continued ability to assist and secure the return of the refugees.
Last October, the refugee agency won pledges of 271-million dollars from international donors to help returnees with food, transportation, shelter and small cash grants. The agency says it has only received 180-million of the pledged money.
More than three million Afghans have sought refuge in neighboring Pakistan and Iran in recent years.