Number of returnees from Pakistan to Kandahar doubles
During an exclusive interview, Director of Refugees and RepatriationMohammad Azim Nawabi told Pajhwok Afghan News the returnees’ number hadmore than doubled this year.
Last year, 1,100 Afghan refugees returned from Pakistan through Spin Boldak. Over the past eight months of the current year, 2,300 families returned to the country, he said
The number of the returnees has gone up because of greater optimism among the refugees regarding the future of their own country and the multiplicity of problems they face in Pakistan, such as joblessness and ill-treatment at the hands of the security personnel.
Over the past 14 years, no township has been established in the province for the returnees despite the quickening pace of repatriation, according to the official, who deplored the neglect of the returnees.
He said: “600 acres of land in Panjwai district and 3000 acres in Daman district have been allotted to returnees’ townships but, unfortunately, neither work on the projects has been launched nor residential plots have been distributed to the returnees.”
But the present government, he explained, was committed to resolving the problems of returnees and refugees. The minister concerned has also pledged to launch work on the twosettlements and distributionof residential plots to returnees.
Recently, the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provided necessary assistance for repatriation.
Due to insecurity and drought in some parts of southern Afghanistan, he said, nearly 8,000 families had been displaced from Helmand and Uruzgan and some districts of the province to Kandahar City.
They have been facing multiple problems in terms of shelter, jobs, health care and education. The government was not in position to extend a helping hand to them, he said, adding international organisations had provided aid to the displaced families, but the assistance was not enough.
According to Nawabi, the number of displaced people could further rise as more families may leave their houses in war-torn areas of Kandahar, Uruzgan and Helmand provinces.
There are old camps for displace persons who have migrated from the northern parts of the country. UN agencies often providedthem aid and told them to return to their homestill 2006.
Most of the displaced people in the old camps have returned to their homes, but 1,200 families are still residing in Zherai district. Nawabi said his department had promised the construction of a township for displaced persons, but it could not keep its word.
The displaced persons were still waiting for plots, Nawabi said, asking the government to implement its pledges. He also demanded more resources for the department so it could help the people in need on its own.
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