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November 20, 2001
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Pakistan won't grant refugee status to Afghans

Pakistan will not grant refugee status to Afghans who have fled the country in the wake of the United States strikes and the advance of the Northern Alliance forces, Online news agency reported.

"We will surely not allow them to stay in Pakistan. We are already more than full. We have been accommodating at least 2-3 million refugees for decades," a senior interior ministry official told Online.

Pakistan estimates that one million more Afghans may have crossed over in the past two months following the September 11 terror attacks and the subsequent US-led air raids in Afghanistan.

"Either one has entered legally on medical grounds or illegally through the porous border. In both the cases, the government will not allow them to stay here," the official said.

"Those on medical grounds would be sent back as soon as possible while the government will launch a manhunt for illegal entrants."

The government has also deployed additional troops on the border with the war-ravaged nation in a bid to curb illegal entry of Afghan refugees.

The official said aged men and women for whom temporary arrangements have been made in camps along the border "would be sent back home when the situation improves".

"If any other country is interested in supporting them (the refugees) it can fund them," he said.

The United Nations and other countries have pledged financial assistance to provide succour to the Afghan refugees.

The government has also denied reports that Taleban soldiers or Arab nationals serving with the militia had crossed into Pakistan from Baluchistan province.

Baluchistan Home Secretary Hanif Orakzai has described the reports, appearing in the foreign media, as "propaganda".

"It is strange to note that if someone in a turban is seen waving alongside the border the foreign media suspects he belongs to the Taleban militia," Orakzai said.

Indo-Asian News Service

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
The Attack on US Cities: The Complete Coverage

The Terrorism Weblog: Latest Stories from Around the World

External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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