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UN Unable to Help Many Afghan Refugees - 2001-11-06


United Nations relief officials are expressing frustration about the limitations they are facing in helping Afghan refugees.

The United Nations refugee agency says 1,500 Afghans are camping out in the open air on the Afghan border with Iran.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says the displaced are not allowed into the Makaki camp inside Afghanistan's Nimroz province, an area under Taleban control, because the site has already reached full capacity with as many as 6,000 Afghans. But the Makaki camp has other problems besides overcrowding.

"The situation inside the camp is quite dismal" said UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski. "Also there are a lot of armed people in the camp. A 12-year-old boy was shot and was then brought to Zahadan in Iran to hospital but died [Tuesday] of his wounds, which illustrates essentially how volatile and dangerous the situation in that camp is."

Mr. Janowski says the forced conscription by Taleban or Northern Alliance opposition troops continues to pose another threat to the refugees.

The refugee agency has requested an emergency meeting with Iranian officials to discuss setting up more camps to house the influx of refugees.

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