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.
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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid