Tuesday, November 20, 2007

230,000 Displaced People in South

The Brookings Institute's Khalid Koser recently gave a presentation on IDPs in Afghanistan. The text is here. Excerpt:

According to UNHCR there are currently about 129,000 registered IDPs in Afghanistan. ...

The figure 129,000 mainly covers people displaced by drought and insecurity in the south of Afghanistan, who are living in camps, and have been displaced for significant periods of time. It covers some, but by no means all, of the growing numbers of IDPs living in irregular settlements in Kabul and other urban areas. It does not include more recent displacement elsewhere in the country arising from human rights violations, inter-communal tensions, floods or drought. Neither does it include at least 20,000 families – that’s about 100,000 individuals - displaced in the last few months by conflict in the south. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reckons that the true number of IDPs in Afghanistan today is probably closer to 300,000. ...
Adding to the issue, IRIN news relates:
Because neither the UN nor the government of Afghanistan support the establishment of new camps - fearing this may encourage other people to leave their homes in search of aid - IDPs have been dispersed in and around urban locations, often living with relatives or in irregular settlements...

[Afghan Red Crescent Society spokesperson] said aid agencies could not meet the most urgent humanitarian needs of many vulnerable displaced families, particularly in conflict-affected areas.

“The Afghan Red Crescent Society does not have adequate resources and capacity to assist all IDPs,” Gailani said...

If armed hostilities intensify and spread to different parts of Afghanistan, internal displacement could see a significant increase, warn experts... (link)
** N.B. For a graphic view of where the humanitarian hot spots are, see this map from the UN news agency's site.

War's spread into Pakistan
From the Guardian:
The US is seeking to beef up Pakistan's counter-insurgency efforts in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan by expanding an American special forces team in the country to train the Frontier Corps and recruiting local militias to take on the insurgents.

The aim is to replicate the Iraq model, in which the Americans recruited, financed and armed local militias against insurgents, firstly in Anbar province and then elsewhere in the country.

US special forces at present only go to Pakistan for six-week trips. The intention is that from early next year they will be there for longer assignments, mainly in a training and advisory role, though combat is not ruled out.

The US has about 50 troops in Pakistan at present and the intention is to add at least dozens more.

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