Pakistan refuses to reopen its border with Afghanistan, which it closed on November 10, 2000. The Taliban’s military advances, policies of gender apartheid and genocide and one of the worst drought in the regions history have caused ten of thousands of refugees to flee to Pakistan in recent weeks. Minister for Kashmir Affairs, Abbas Sarfraz stated at a news briefing that Pakistan cannot handle the problem of Afghan refugees on its own and that greater financial help from the international community is needed. Meanwhile, there are reports that Pakistan is still actively allowing some refugees with certain documents or of Pashtun ethnicity to enter the country.
More than three million of Afghan refugees are currently living in Pakistan. Pakistan officials report that they are now “overburdened” by the influx and will not allow any more refugees to cross the border. Those refugees that have been displaced inside Afghanistan face continued hardships as winter approaches, and as snow makes roads impassable, hindering the transport of aid. The World Food Programme has predicted that as many as 1 million Afghans could face starvation this winter. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that more than 36,000 Afghan refugees fled during the month of October alone. Other reports indicate that this number could be well over 45,000. After the Taliban take over of Taloqan, more than 150,000 persons living in the city were reported to have been displaced.
Media Resources: The Dawn Group of Newspapers 16 November 2000, Feminist Global News Wire