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Monday, 19 November, 2001, 12:49 GMT
No let-up in Afghan exodus
Refugees from Jalozai on a bus taking them to Kotkai
Refugees from Jalozai are being relocated to a new camp
Thousands of Afghan refugees are continuing to stream across the border into neighbouring Pakistan daily, and the UN says it expects to see more, especially from the south and east of Afghanistan.

A family of refugees unload their possessions at the border
Hundreds of refugees continue to leave Afghanistan
The UN refugee agency says that, despite the changes in Afghanistan, few refugees are likely to go home because it is winter and they cannot start farming.

The majority are expected to wait until next year to go back.

In the meantime, the UNHCR is moving some of the 5,000 Afghans who arrived at the makeshift Jalozai camp near Peshawar in Pakistan during the past two months to a new, fully-equipped site.

Spokesman Yusef Hassan said recent arrivals at Jalozai camp had been sleeping in shelters made from pieces of clothing and plastic bags in squalid conditions.

Pashtuns only

The new camp is at Kotkai in Bajaur, 120km (75 miles) north of Peshawar.

It is equipped with tents, latrines and clean water - and can accommodate up to 20,000 people.

Only refugees from the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, the Pashtuns, can go to Kotkai as it is in a Pashtun area of Pakistan which largely backed the Taleban.

Children on a bus to Kotkai
Conditions at Jalozai camp near Peshawar were squalid
It is feared that other ethnic groups might receive a hostile welcome.

Jalozai is home to about 50,000 refugees who fled from fighting over the past year.

The Pakistani Government initially refused to allow proper shelter or aid for the refugees and had wanted to close the camp.

But, in an apparent change of heart, the authorities now say that aid agencies can provide proper facilities there.

The Pakistani Government has also repeated that it will not deport any Afghans who cross the border illegally.

Large numbers of Afghans either paid bribes or made their way through remote passes to cross the border, which Pakistan had closed to all apart from a few desperate cases.

Refugees held back

Hundreds of these refugees were subsequently deported, and many needy Afghans did not seek help because they feared the same fate.

On Saturday, the UNHCR relocated 1,445 refugees from its Killi Faizo camp near the Chaman border crossing to a larger one.

The UNHCR says that, according to its aid workers, Taleban soldiers occupying the border town of Spin Boldak were trying to hold back hundreds of Afghans trying to cross the border and into the camps.

See also:

19 Nov 01 | South Asia
Aid held up on Afghan border
15 Nov 01 | South Asia
A corridor to the hungry Afghans
15 Nov 01 | South Asia
UN aid shipment reaches Afghanistan
13 Nov 01 | South Asia
New wave of refugees feared
12 Nov 01 | South Asia
UN prepares major Afghan relief effort
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