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Afghanistan: returns from Iran picking up

Briefing notes

Afghanistan: returns from Iran picking up

17 May 2002

In Afghanistan, more than 616,000 Afghan refugees have participated in UNHCR's assisted return programme since the operation got underway on March 1. Thursday's returns totalled more than 11,400 persons.

The numbers of returnees from Iran are starting to rise as well. More than 3,100 people repatriated on Thursday, via both the Islam Qala and Zaranj crossing points. More than 44,000 Afghans have repatriated from Iran since April 9, when the programme got underway from that country. The majority of the returnees to date have crossed from Pakistan, with more than 550,000 people repatriating since March 1. Others have returned from Central Asian states.

In the south-western Afghan border town of Spin Boldak, UNHCR continues to return displaced Afghans to their home areas under a voluntary return programme in cooperation with the Afghan Interim Authority. In the first three days of the IDP return operation from Spin Boldak, we've helped more than 670 displaced Afghans back to their home areas mainly deeper in Kandahar Province. There are an estimated 40,000 displaced Afghans in Spin Boldak's five makeshift camps.