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Despite 'precarious' security situation, aid build-up in Pakistan continues: UN agency

Despite 'precarious' security situation, aid build-up in Pakistan continues: UN agency

Despite a precarious security situation and logistical problems in Pakistan's border areas, a build-up of humanitarian supplies continued today, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

Though the frontier with Afghanistan remained officially closed, several hundred refugees continued to arrive daily, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski told reporters at a press briefing in Geneva. However, border monitors for the agency have not reported any large groups of people gathering inside Afghanistan. Some reports suggested that the Taliban had increased its armed presence in the border region, possibly preventing civilians from leaving.

By the end of today, UNHCR will have stockpiled 15,000 tents in its warehouse in the city of Peshawar, enough to shelter up to 80,000 people, Mr. Janowski said. Tents, plastic sheets and blankets were being trucked daily from Peshawar to border crossing points.

Tents were also being trucked from the Pakistani city of Karachi and other places to the southern city of Quetta, which currently has 4,000 tents out of the 20,000 needed to accommodate as many as 100,000 refugees, according to the spokesman.

Work on prospective campsites in Quetta and Peshawar areas was halted following yesterday's violent demonstrations in the two cities, which limited the freedom of movement of UNHCR international staff, Mr. Janowski said. Supplies continued to be moved during the disturbances by mostly local contractors.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) reported today that two convoys had arrived in the Northwest province and Kabul, while a third was expected in Herat at the end of the week. WFP said there were convoys loaded and ready to move throughout the region as conditions allowed. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said a truck convoy of its own would be sent from Iran into Herat.

In other news, the UN Security Council sanctions committee for Afghanistan has released a list of 11 organizations, 13 individuals and 3 companies that have been added to its consolidated list of individuals and entities associated with Osama bin Laden.

In December 2000, the Council adopted a resolution stipulating that all countries should immediately freeze the funds and other financial assets of Mr. bin Laden and any entities and individuals associated with him, as designated by the Committee. The Committee has twice before drawn up a list of such individuals and groups.

The new additions, approved by the sanctions committee last Saturday, includes the al-Qaida organization, as well as the Abu Sayyaf Group of the Philippines, the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, the Harakat ul-Mujahidin of Kashmir, the Egyptian Islamic Movement and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.