Thousands of displaced Afghans stranded at Tajik border: UN
KABUL, Jan 3 (AFP) - Thousands of displaced Afghans are living under mounting hardship along the country's border with Tajikistan, which has been requested by the United Nations to allow the refugees into its territory, a UN report said Wednesday.
Around 10,000 Afghans, uprooted by recent fighting in the northeastern province of Takhar, are living on the banks of Pyandj river on the Tajik border, according to the report.
They lack food, proper shelter and drinking water and face "grave security risks" because of sporadic shelling into the area which has injured some refugees, the UN said.
A request from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to the Tajikistan government to allow the displaced people to enter Tajik territory is yet to elicit a response, the report said.
Among the displaced people were a number of armed men belonging to the anti-Taliban military commander Ahmad Shah Masood.
The UNHCR has earmarked around 250,000 dollars to assist the people and preparations are under way to airlift plastic tarpaulins from Copenhagen to the Tajik capital Dushanbe, it added.
More than 200,000 people fled their homes in and around Takhar during the Taliban's summer military campaign during which the ruling militia took the provincial capital, Taloqan, on September 6.
Around 50,000 of the displaced people entered Pakistan, forcing Islamabad to close its border with Afghanistan.
The UN report said the number of Afghans officially registered in the new refugee settlements in the Pakistani border area of Peshawar had reached 47,000.
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