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UPDATED: 08:14, September 07, 2005
Afghanistan urges Pakistan not to force refugees to return
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Afghanistan once again called on Pakistan Tuesday to avoid forcible repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland.

"This is our request to the government of Pakistan to continue its hospitality as it did in over two and half decades and not to pressurize refugees to return," Presidential spokesman Mohammad Karim Rahimi told journalists at a news briefing here.

Pakistan last month asked Afghan refugees, particularly those living in Bajaur and Karam close to Afghanistan, either to return home or shift to other camps by the end of August.

Around 45,000 refugees have returned home since the issuance of order while thousands of others have been taken to other camps inside Pakistan.

"While we are grateful to the people and government of Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees in over the past two and half decades, we request them at this time to help facilitate the voluntary repatriation of remaining refugees living there," Rahimi added.

Over 2.5 million Afghan refugees have returned home since the collapse of Taliban in late 2001 and some two million others are still living there.

Source: Xinhua

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