Nearly 150,000 Afghans have repatriated from Pakistan since March, UN says

Nearly 150,000 Afghans have repatriated from Pakistan since March, UN says

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United Nations refugee officials today hailed the extraordinarily high number of Afghans pouring back into their home country from Pakistan through a UN-assisted effort which, since the beginning of March, has repatriated nearly 150,000 people.

"This is a phenomenal rate of return so early in the year, and is reminiscent of 1992 when 1.2 million Afghans returned from Pakistan alone in eight months after the fall of the Communist government in Kabul," United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Rupert Colville told the press in Geneva.

At the same time, he warned that "the speed of the return is in danger of outstripping the receipt of funds" and called on donors to "keep pace with the return movement." So far, the agency has received $128 million - less than half of the $271 million sought through its last appeal. "If the numbers returning continue at such a rate, then obviously we may have to revise the appeal upwards," said Mr. Colville.