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Thursday, 22 February, 2001, 15:15 GMT
Pakistan to evict 100,000 Afghans
Afghan refugees in Pakistan
Pakistan can no longer cope with the influx of Afghans
Pakistan is set to evict 100,000 Afghan refugees from a camp that has been running for 20 years.

Unable to cope with the massive influx of refugees, authorities in North West Frontier Province have told the refugees to go home by 15 July.

A new wave of more than 170,000 Afghan refugees has poured into Pakistan since September following a catastrophic crop failure and an escalation in the country's civil war.

Map of Afghanistan
The United Nations has warned that one million in Afghanistan face famine.

Desperate

Earlier this month, the frontier authorities refused a UN request to open a new refugee camp, stranding 80,000 Afghans in fast deteriorating conditions.

Refugees are now so desperate that humanitarian agencies cannot distribute aid for fear of stampedes.

Correspondents describe the situation as an humanitarian crisis of biblical proportions.

There are already about one million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, along with an estimated two million illegal immigrants.

About 80,000 refugees are stranded in western Afghanistan and another 10,000 have collected on the country's northern border with Tajikistan.

UN plea

UN Under-secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Kenzo Oshima wound up a visit to the region last week, describing Afghanistan as "one of the worst places in the world to try to live".

He said the country faces total disaster unless the international community acts fast.

The United States has called on Pakistan to stop deporting refugees.

US ambassador William Milam said recently there was a lack of transparency about who was being deported and why.

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See also:

22 Feb 01 | South Asia
Afghan refugees face bleak future
16 Feb 01 | South Asia
UN warns of Afghan catastrophe
31 Jan 01 | South Asia
Cold snap kills Afghan refugees
11 Jan 01 | South Asia
Afghan refugees' unending plight
09 Jan 01 | South Asia
UN moves to save Afghan refugees
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