Page last updated at 05:03 GMT, Friday, 26 March 2010

UN welcomes Pakistan's move on Afghan refugees

Afghan refugees
The decision allows Afghan refugees to remain till 2012

The UN refugee agency has welcomed Pakistan's decision to allow nearly 1.7 million Afghan refugees to remain in the country for three more years.

Agency chief Antonio Guterres said as a host to the largest refugee population in the world Pakistan's help was vital.

The decision to allow Afghan refugees to remain in Pakistan till 2012 is part of a new policy that was approved by the federal cabinet in Islamabad.

The refugees live mainly in designated villages or among host communities.

Last year the UNHCR temporarily suspended operations helping Afghans return home from Pakistan in order to safeguard the security of its staff.

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