UNHCR closes office in southeastern Afghanistan
KABUL (Pajhwok): The UN refugee agency has closed its office and ceased operations in southeastern Afghanistan, an official said on Thursday, fearing the move could increase problems of refugees and displaced families.
The refugee and repatriation director for Paktia province, Hazrat Meer Zazai, told Pajhwok Afghan News UNHCR had formally closed its offices in the province and had stopped operating in the zone.
Zazai said the provincial government, the provincial council and civil society groups had made efforts at keeping the UNHCR office operational, but did not succeed.
The official said local UNHCR officials had told them the decision to close the office had come from their main office and the office might perform some tasks.
Local officials and provincial council members said the closure of UNHCR office in Paktia would further increase problems being faced by refugees in the southeastern provinces.
Provincial council member Taj Mohammad Mangal said southeastern provinces bordered Pakistan and the UN office’s move would deprive of assistance thousands of families displaced by the conflict on both sides of the Duran Line.
The public representative said Afghan families returning from Pakistan to southeastern Afghanistan would face problems in getting assistance from UNHCR offices in eastern Nangarhar provincial and central capital Kabul.
Paktia refugee director Hazrat Meer Zazai also expressed his concern over the closure of UNHCR office, saying the move would reduce assistance with refugee families living in camps.
He said the UN agency’s office had been assisting refugee families returning from neighouring countries and those camped in the southeastern zone including education facilities.
After their return to the zone, the refugee families would face many problems, he said.
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