News / Asia

Most Afghan Refugees Want to Remain in Pakistan

Afghan refugees family returning from Pakistan look at explosives and mines during an awareness program at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees registration center in Mommand Dara district in Jalalabad province, November 20, 2012.
Afghan refugees family returning from Pakistan look at explosives and mines during an awareness program at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees registration center in Mommand Dara district in Jalalabad province, November 20, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Sharon Behn
— More than 1.6 million Afghan refugees registered in Pakistan are due to be repatriated by the end of the year. With just three weeks to go, however, a recent United Nations survey found that roughly 80 percent have no intention of returning to Afghanistan.
 
According to the U.N. survey, most Afghan families living in Pakistan feel Afghanistan is just not safe enough to go back home. Others cited the inability to earn a living and the lack of anywhere to live in their native country.
 
Pakistan's Minister for States and Frontier Regions Shaukat Ullah acknowledged the challenges involved in convincing refugees to return to their country after decades of living in Pakistan.
 
"After 32 years, if a person is returning from a country where he has been born and he is going to a country like Afghanistan, they will think 100 times," said Ullah.

Sizable refugee population

Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in the 1990s, Pakistan has hosted one of the largest refugee populations in the world. Some 3.8 million have crossed back over the border into Afghanistan.
 
The UNHCR has offered plastic buckets, soap, blankets, cash and a one-way ticket for those still living in Pakistan, and succeeded in encouraging another 72,000 people to return to Afghanistan this year.
 
But there still are 1.6 million official Afghan refugees here. UNHCR representative Neill Wright said the organization was waiting to hear what Pakistan has planned for these refugees after the December 31, 2012 deadline.
 
"I know that the government is very actively engaged in considering what its policy will be in terms of the management of Afghan refugees in 2013, and in terms of supporting this continued partnership that we have with Afghanistan over voluntary repatriation, and I look forward to hearing what that strategy will be," said Wright.

Determining a plan

Responding to concerns that there will be another wave of refugees from Afghanistan after international combat forces leave the country in 2014, Wright said contingency plans are under consideration.
 
"This is clearly an issue that I am involved in discussions with many people, senior politicians, people in Afghanistan, members of the international community. Of course, when you do contingency planning, you look at a worst-case scenario and you look at a best-case scenario, and if you are sensible you will probably look at something in the middle," said Wright.

He declined to give any further details.
 
Many Afghan refugees live in very poor conditions in Pakistan. According to the UNHCR, less than one quarter of them work, and almost three quarters of Afghan children are not going to school.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid