Fighting Afghan Warlords Say Returning Refugees Not in Danger
IRC assists returning Afghans - bringing food, shelter and farming supplies to their communities of origin. (Photo: Peter Bussian)
United Nations' officials in Afghanistan have been assured by warlords in the volatile north,where the IRC is heavily engaged in repatriation work, that they will protect returning refugees.
The UNHCR has held talks with Uzbek warlord General Dostam and his Tajik rival, Atta Mohammad, following mounting reports of fighting and attacks on ethnic Pashtuns, a minority in the region.
During skirmishes between the factions, two vehicles belonging to an IRC partner were shot at by rocket propelled grenades. Local commanders later apologized for the attack. In another incident, rockets were fired at a convoy carrying workers from an aid agency clinic.
Meanwhile IRC continues to work on rehabilitation projects in the area. In the district of Aq Kubruk, 164 families who’d fled the Taliban, fighting and drought, over the past year are being helped to return to their villages. IRC teams gave each family food supplies and other items to assist them over the settling in period.
In another northern district, Alburz, IRC has started building water catchments and is planning food distribution to vulnerable families. The work is part of a major reintegration program for some 180,000 refugees who fled Afghanistan during the Taliban rule. Many are slowly returning to northern Afghanistan which saw some of the most brutal fighting of the country's civil war.