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Afghanistan: fighting displaces 160,000

Briefing notes

Afghanistan: fighting displaces 160,000

27 August 1999

The recent upsurge in fighting in Afghanistan has led to the internal displacement of up to 160,000 people in the north-east of the country.

There is no report of IDPs moving closer to the Tajik or Pakistani borders. It is generally believed that there are unlikely to be large outflows, either to Pakistan or Tajikistan, unless the military situation in the Panjshir were to change drastically. UNHCR office in Dushanbe reports verbal assurances at high level that the border would be open, should there be an influx. On the Pakistan side, it is also believed that the border would remain open, although access from the Panjshir into Chitral, in Pakistan, is made difficult by the state of the roads.

IDPs continued to arrive in Kabul, at an estimated rate of around 150 persons per day. The total number in Kabul is estimated at 30-40,000, scattered throughout the city, of whom approximately 7,000 are being assisted by World Food Programme and CARE in the former Russian embassy compound.

In the Kunduz area, IDPs number 10,176. Swedish Committee for Afghanistan are providing medical assistance to IDPs, and UNHCR is assisting with transport for the medical assistance as well as water transportation and the provision of some shelter materials.

Numbers of IDPs in the Panjshir Valley are estimated at around 100,000, by the UN inter-agency mission which arrived there this week to assess the situation.

Assistance to IDPs in the Panjshir Valley is being provided by 2 NGOs, ACTED and FOCUS, with bread and high protein biscuits. ACTED is also organising convoys with food, shelter and latrine materials and other relief items. A UN convoy is transporting 115 tents from Chitral, in Pakistan, into Badakhshan, despite the logistical difficulties of this route.