Afghanistan: intense fighting - Afghans stream into Pakistan
Amid reports of intense fighting between the Taliban and the opposition Northern Alliance forces in north-east Afghanistan, Afghans continue to stream into Pakistan.
More than 2,600 Afghans crossed into Pakistan at the Torkham border post this week, bringing the number of Afghans who have sought asylum in Pakistan in recent weeks to nearly 23,000 - 18,000 in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and 5,000 in Baluchistan province. UNHCR monitors at the Torkham border reported an average of 500 crossings a day in the past three days. An increasing number of the new arrivals proceed to Pakistan's urban centres to join relatives and friends.
Last week, UNHCR transferred nearly 8,000 refugees from a makeshift site in Jalozai, near Peshawar, the capital of the NWFP, to the New Shamshatoo refugee village. But no sooner had they been shifted than some 1,550 newcomers moved in to take their place in Jalozai.
UNHCR is providing assistance to another 5,500 Afghan refugees encamped in Akora Khattak. The refugees, who are overwhelmingly women and children of Tajik ethnicity from north-eastern Afghanistan, are in urgent need of shelter, food and medical assistance. UNHCR has distributed tarpaulins, quilts and plastic sheeting. WFP is providing wheat and edible oil to the arrivals at New Shamshatoo.