100,000 from Pakistan take refuge in Afghanistan

Kabul : Around 100,000 people, who were forced to leave their houses in the wake of Pakistan army operations against militants in North Waziristan, have taken refuge in Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.

“Up to 30,000 families who fled their houses due to military operations in North Waziristan have migrated to Khost province and settled in Gulan camp of Garbaz district and other parts of Khost province,” Mohammad Mubariz Zadran, spokesman for Khost provincial government, told Xinhua.

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Without giving an exact number of the refugees taking shelter in Khost province, Zadran said that “probably some 70,000 Pakistani refugees are living across Khost province”.

The Afghan government, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and other aid agencies have provided humanitarian assistance, including food stuff to the refugees, Zadran added.

Meanwhile, spokesman for Paktika provincial government, Mukhlis Afghan, in talks with Xinhua, said that around 10,000 families probably consisting of some 30,000 individuals from North Waziristan have taken shelter in Paktika province and settled in different parts of the province.

“After counting the refugees and getting exact information about their numbers, we would establish camp for the refugees,” he added.

The number could go up, he said, adding people from across the border are still migrating to Afghanistan.

However, a spokesman of the UNHCR in Kabul, Nadir Farhad, when approached by Xinhua said that there was an ” estimated 10,000 families in Khost and 3,500 families in Paktika, many of them living with their relatives, friends and have been accommodated in host communities in Tanni, Mandozai, Matun, Nadir Shah Kot and Gurboz districts”.

He also said that as an immediate response, the UNHCR provided relief materials such as plastic sheets and tarpaulin, blankets, tents, jerry cans, kitchen sets, metallic buckets, gas cylinders, bath and laundry soaps, solar lamps and sanitary clothes to some 1,392 families.

Other organisations have also provided food assistance, medicines, emergency latrines and hygiene kits, among others, Farhad added.