Pakistan: UNHCR welcomes leader's assurances
UNHCR welcomes assurances given to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan by Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf that his country will continue to provide assistance to needy Afghans. After meeting Gen. Musharraf on Sunday, the Secretary-General said that the two leaders agreed on a two-pronged approach - providing aid inside Afghanistan and at the same time assisting Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
UNHCR hopes the agreement will pave the way for better humanitarian access to some 80,000 new arrivals from Afghanistan who are currently living in deplorable conditions at the windswept Jalozai site, where agencies have only been allowed to provide limited assistance. Conditions at the makeshift encampment are among the worst some relief professionals have ever seen.
Since last year, some 170,000 new Afghan refugees have been reported in Pakistan. UNHCR was permitted to relocate 60,000 new arrivals from Jalozai to the New Shamshatoo site, where appropriate facilities were constructed and UNHCR and its partners have been permitted to distribute aid. Pakistan hosts some 1.2 million Afghans.