Afghans programme completes nine years
ISLAMABAD: The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Pakistan has concluded its ninth year of the facilitated return programme for the Afghan refugees.
The return process will take a winter recess after assisting 109,243 Afghans to return home this year, says a press release here on Wednesday.
The voluntary return programme of Afghans started in 2002 and is the largest operation of the refugee agency around the world.
A total 3.7 million refugees have since returned their home. Some 1.6 million registered Afghans are still in Pakistan.
"Repatriation is one of our preferred solutions in any postconflict situation", UNHCR Representative in Pakistan, Mengesha Kebede, said, adding that Afghans were eager to go back home only if better alternates were provided to them.
Mr. Kebede further noted that UNHCR together with the host government is undertaking initiatives to support the Afghan government to manage the Afghan population in a more efficient manner.
The registration card renewal project for Afghans and the upcoming population profiling verification survey are the two initiatives the government of Pakistan has undertaken with the support of UNHCR.
The initiatives will enable the two countries to plan development activities for Afghans who have returned and those who may not be able to return in the near future. -App