Aid agencies struggle to assist wave of returning Afghan refugees
Perched on top of lumbering trucks overflowing with all their possessions, Afghan families are streaming back to their home country at unprecedented rates, leaving international organizations scrambling to provide aid as winter approaches.
The flow of returnees from neighboring Iran and Pakistan this year, estimated by the United Nations to number more than half a million, is straining the capacity of the government and aid agencies, even as violence uproots more Afghans around the country.
At Torkham, the busiest border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, nearly 170,000 Afghans have returned this year, according to the U.N., many of them citing harassment by Pakistani authorities as relations between the two countries have deteriorated.
Islamabad has stepped up pressure to send people back and numbers have risen sharply in recent months as Afghan-Indian relations strengthened and those between India and Pakistan soured.
Lines of colorfully decorated trucks pass through the border gate at Torkham, navigating the mountainous passes with returning refugees clinging to piles of household goods, sometimes with a family cow nearly buried in the back. - Read More