Pakistan: Up to 20,000 people flee to Afghanistan, says UN

Kabul, 29 Sept. (AKI) - About 20,000 people have fled fighting in Pakistan's tribal areas and sought refuge in eastern Afghanistan in recent months, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said on Monday.

"In the last two weeks alone, over 600 Pakistani families have fled into Afghanistan," Mohammed Nadir Farhad, the UN refugee agency's spokesman, told the media in Kabul.

"The majority are living with their relatives and friends, but there are some 200 families who live in the open air."

An estimated 4,000 families started arriving in eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province as fighting intensified across the border in Bajaur Agency in Pakistan's tribal areas in recent months.

They include 2,120 families in Kunar's Shigal district, 748 families in Marawara district, 706 in Dangam district and smaller numbers in other districts.

About 70 percent of the recent arrivals in Shigal, Marawara and Dangam are Pakistanis.

Kunar's provincial authorities are working closely with the UN and other international organisations to coordinate and monitor the humanitarian response closely.

The agency believes that the majority of the displaced families will return to Pakistan as soon as the situation in the tribal areas improves.


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