Tags: Pakistan | Seeks | Help | for | Afghan | Refugees

Pakistan Seeks Help for Afghan Refugees

Friday, 28 September 2001 12:00 AM

"We already have more than 2.5 million Afghan refugees in Afghanistan and do not have the resources to deal with those coming now," said Abbas Sarfaraz Khan, the minister for refugees and frontier regions.

U.N. officials have warned that as many as an additional 1.5 million refugees may enter Pakistan ahead of an expected U.S. military strike against Afghanistan to flush out Osama bin Laden and other suspected terrorists.

International relief agencies are preparing for the exodus and have set up camps inside the Pakistani border for thousands of Afghans moving toward Pakistan. An estimated 20,000 have already entered the country.

"We cannot shoulder this burden on our own. We need help from the international community," Khan told a meeting of senior U.N. officials and Western diplomats.

He said Pakistan will need at least $156 million to cope with 1 million new arrivals for six months.

In an effort to help the Afghan people, the United States and other countries Thursday began making plans to donate millions of dollars in emergency aid for Afghan refugees.

In Berlin, U.S. diplomats attended an emergency meeting of the Afghan Support Group, a coalition of 16 nations that provide the bulk of international relief aid to the Central Asian country.

In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan made an urgent appeal to U.N. member states for $584 million to help the Afghan population cope with deprivation caused by years of drought and civil war.

The moves came as U.S. delegates to the United Nations began circulating a draft resolution calling for support for a global crackdown on terrorist groups by freezing their financial assets, tightening border security and tracking more closely their movements. The United States is the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, having contributed almost $140 million this year. The Taliban have disrupted aid groups' efforts to distribute food aid, and many of the groups have left or been expelled from the country in anticipation of a U.S. strike.

The United Nations said it will come up with a plan to get food to more than 7.5 million needy Afghans through new distribution channels within the country and to refugees across the borders of Afghanistan's neighbors in Central Asia, primarily Pakistan.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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We already have more than 2.5 million Afghan refugees in Afghanistan and do not have the resources to deal with those coming now, said Abbas Sarfaraz Khan, the minister for refugees and frontier regions. U.N. officials have warned that as many as an additional 1.5...
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2001-00-28
Friday, 28 September 2001 12:00 AM
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