After security concerns prompted the United Nations to suspend assistance to Afghan refugees who are voluntarily returning to their home country from Peshawar in Pakistan, the UN refugee agency announced today that it will reopen its voluntary repatriation centre (VRC) in the city.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) suspended assistance on Sunday because of security considerations in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar. UNHCR said that its centre in Peshawar will start work again tomorrow and that its encashment centre for returning refugees in Mohmandra District, outside Jalalabad in Afghanistan, was also reopening tomorrow.
UNHCR said its other VRC in Balochistan region in Pakistan continues to function as normal. The UN agency advised refugees to plan their journeys well in advance to avoid traveling during the night.
There are some two million registered Afghans in Pakistan and approximately one million in Iran. UNHCR says it expects between 150,000 and 200,000 Afghans to return from Pakistan this year – similar to the amount of people who returned in 2005 and 2006.