ISLAMABAD, July 4: More than 25,000 Afghans who fled northern Afghanistan are stranded on Pakistan’s border because the country has refused to take in more refugees, the UN said here on Thursday.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office said in a statement the 6,003 refugee families were living in the waiting area at the Pakistani border town of Chaman. A head-count carried out last week found that 25,693 individuals were seeking asylum in Pakistan.

“A lack of a precise number of asylum seekers was causing multiple difficulties for aid agencies trying to provide relief to the stranded Afghans,” the UNHCR said. Pakistan was burdened with nearly three million Afghan refugees after the US-backed Jihad (holy war) fought in the 1980s against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

It closed its doors to a new influx of refugees the United States-led war on terrorism and ethnic tensions in Afghanistan triggered last year.

About 800,000 Afghans have returned home since the US military campaign ousted the Taliban last year.—dpa

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