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Afghan refugees willing to return

January 07, 2002

MANSEHRA, Jan 6: The Afghan refugees are willing to return to Afghanistan if peace is restored to the war-torn country and the US stopped bombing and killing of the innocent people, they said.

The Afghan refugees were willing to return to their country but want the US to immediately stop bombings in Afghanistan, the refugees said in Mansehra. They feel that the continued US bombing gave the impression as if Washington wanted to avenge the Sept 11 terrorist attacks on its two cities.

They said that the Taliban regime had collapsed and an interim administration had been put in place but the US was continuing with its bombings of civilian targets in Afghanistan.

An Afghan doctor from Kabul University, Dr Khalid Khan was sceptical about international community’s commitment to reconstruct and rebuild Afghanistan.

He said that the world community was merely providing lip service to the cause but was doing little or nothing to translate their promises into reality.

He said that refugees could not be expected to return home if the present situation continued.

He blamed foreign interference for continued bloodshed in Afghanistan. “I am cent per cent confident that peace will return to Afghanistan only after the US forces pull out of our country.”

An Afghan vegetable vendor, Naseem Jan, said he and his family and other relatives wish to go back with dignity and honour but it seems we would never be able to go back because there is little for them to do there. “Our children and women are dying because of poverty and cold in Afghanistan but there is nobody to help them out”, he said.

He said that the Afghan refugees were barely able to make both ends meet but there was no choice for them to return to the country where there was nothing for them to do and feed their families.

There are over 100,000 Afghan refugees in various camps in the district but an in charge of the Afghan refugee commissionerate said there were no sign of returning of refugee to Afghanistan.

He said that not a single family had opted to return to Afghanistan after the demise of the Taliban.