UN High Commissioner visits Pakistan to coordinate aid for Afghan refugees

Islamabad, Sep 17 (EFE).- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Friday met representatives of the government of Pakistan in an attempt to coordinate the urgent supply of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and help for the refugees.

“Pakistan will play an important role and support in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan,” Grandi said in a press conference in Islamabad, while thanking Pakistani authorities for “facilitating the humanitarian operation in Afghanistan.

“This is very important,” the Italian said after meeting military and government officials in the Pakistani capital.

Pakistan, which shares a long border with Afghanistan, and whose government has historically maintained an influence on the Taliban, hass become a key channel both for shipping humanitarian aid and evacuation of refugees.

“Taliban expressed their wish that humanitarian assistance be rolled out as quickly as possible. Conditions are very difficult, very difficult. The country is desperately needing food, medical, shelter and other necessities,” the high commissioner said.

Another focus of Grandi’s visit is to assess the situation of refugees in Pakistan, which is home to nearly 1.4 million legally registered Afghans, while another one million are estimated to be living there without documents.

Moreover, Pakistani authorities have restricted the entry of Afghans through its borders and are only accepting people carrying travel permits and visas.

Grandi said that he understood Pakistan’s position, which has been receiving people displaced from Afghan conflicts for 40 years, but urged the government to not send people back, as they could be in danger.

“We don’t anybody pushed back,” he insisted.

Before landing in Islamabad, the high commissioner had carried out a three-day visit to Afghanistan where he met leaders of the Taliban government.

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