50,000 Afghan refugees return home so far this year
Since January 2010, some 50,000 Afghan refugees have returned home from the neighboring states of Pakistan and Iran, a statement of United Nations Refugee Agency ( UNHCR) said Sunday.
"Two months after the UN Refugee Agency resumed its 2010 voluntary repatriation program in Pakistan and five months since return started in Iran, 50,000 Afghan refugees have returned home with UNHCR's assistance," the statement said.
Of these, 48,000 refugees have returned from Pakistan and some 2,000 others from Iran, the statement further said.
The UNHCR-assisted repatriation program from Pakistan, according to the statement resumed on March 22; while from Iran early this year, Xinhua reported.
Each Afghan returning with UNHCR assistance receives a cash grant averaging about 100 U.S. dollars, depending on the distance to their area of origin. The grant is given out to returning refugees at one of the five UNHCR encashment centers in Afghanistan.
There are still some 2.7 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran many of whom have lived there for over two decades.
Over 6 million Afghans had left their home country due to three decades of war and civil strife.
More than 3.6 million Afghans have returned home from Pakistan and 865,000 others from Iran with UNHCR's help since 2002, the UN Refugee Agency stressed in the statement.