BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: South Asia  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
UN halts Afghan repatriation
Refugees board a truck in Pakistan to return to Afghanistan
The return of the refugees is again under threat
The United Nations has suspended its programme of returning refugees to northern Afghanistan because of the "extremely volatile" security situation.

Yussuf Hassan, the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kabul, said on Tuesday that conditions were now too "precarious".

The suspension came amid reports of continuing tensions between forces loyal to rival warlords Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Mohammad.

The number of refugees affected by this move is not certain but they include people hoping to return to the northern and central provinces of Faryab, Jozjan, Balkh and Samangan.

Factional tensions between rival warlords are known to be high in these provinces despite the recent establishment of President Hamid Karzai's new government in Kabul.

Growing criminality

Both General Dostum, an Uzbek, and Mr Mohammad, a Tajik, support Mr Karzai's administration.

Refugee children at a border camp
Many refugees face an uncertain future

But clashes between fighters from their militias have badly affected the security situation across much of northern Afghanistan in recent weeks.

"The UNHCR is extremely concerned about the escalating violence and the worsening human rights situation in northern and central Afghanistan," Mr Hassan told the Associated Press news agency.

The Uzbek and Tajik militias have clashed sporadically since Northern Alliance forces recaptured the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif from Taleban units with US assistance last year.

Mohammad's forces say Dostum's militia captured 16 of their Tajik villages 50 miles from Mazar.

Mr Hassan says the violence has been compounded by an increase in criminal activity including robbery, rape and murder across the region.

Cash needed

Meanwhile, the repatriation process faces another intractable difficulty - a shortage of cash.

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP), which provides rations to Afghan refugees sheltering abroad, and recently returned Afghans, said on Tuesday it urgently needed $102 million for its Afghanistan programme.

Afghan men carry sacks of donated wheat
Millions of dollars are still needed

WFP launched an appeal in April to raise $285 million but has so far received only 64% of the target amount.

The United States contributed $116 million, and the European Union, $7.2 million, a WFP statement said, but among Asian and Arab countries, only Japan had made any contribution.

The WFP says it still needs 175,000 tonnes of food worth $102 million for the Afghan refugees, including the million who have recently returned home.


Rebuilding

Political uncertainty

Profiles

Issues

FACT FILE

IN DEPTH

FORUM

TALKING POINT
See also:

13 Jun 02 | South Asia
08 Jun 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
03 Jun 02 | Business
31 May 02 | South Asia
29 May 02 | South Asia
18 May 02 | South Asia
14 May 02 | South Asia
11 May 02 | South Asia
06 May 02 | Business
01 Jul 02 | Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes