Afghanistan emergency: High Commissioner Lubbers' meetings
The High Commissioner today is scheduled to meet with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. Later in the day, he will also meet with the Taleban representative in Pakistan. In meetings with Pakistani officials to date the High Commissioner has repeatedly urged Afghanistan's neighbours to open their borders to fleeing Afghans, particularly vulnerable people and those fleeing forced conscription.
Meanwhile thousands of refugees are crossing into Pakistan, mostly through unofficial border crossings since only the sick, the wounded and the frail are allowed to cross officially.
On Sunday, 62 families (303 individuals) entered the Killi Faizo staging camp on the Chaman border, and on Monday a further 54 families (264 individuals), taking the total at the site at the end of yesterday to just over 1,350 - an average of some 200 per day since the site became operational a week ago. On Tuesday, 500 more people were waiting to get into the camp. However, this number does not represent the total number of people crossing into the southern Pakistan province of Baluchistan, since other new arrivals continue to cross either by the Chaman crossing or elsewhere and head straight to relatives or friends elsewhere.
Monitoring of border areas in the North-West Frontier shows that there are thousands of people also crossing into Pakistan using small roads and unofficial entry points. Last weekend more that 5,000 people are believed to have crossed in this way. The overall figure of Afghans who have fled to Pakistan since September 11th remains unknown, but various estimates put it at more than 100,000.