Washington, June 30 : The United States has reportedly urged Pakistan not to repatriate Afghan refugees, saying it would have a "destabilising effect" on the Afghan government.
This is contained in a report after Pentagon's first assessment of the Afghan situation since 9/11, 2001.
The assessment deals with the refugees' issue from the Afghan perspective, completely ignoring Pakistan's concern that the Taliban militants use the camps to hide and recuperate, reported the Dawn.
"A worst-case scenario based on Pakistan unexpectedly and precipitously closing and clearing multiple camps and expelling Afghans could result in up to 400,000 refugees trying to return to Afghanistan," the paper quoted the Pentagon report as warning.
Under international pressure, Pakistan has committed itself to voluntary, not forced, repatriation and has stated that it will allow refugees from closed camps to relocate to other camps.
The Pentagon's main concern, according to this report, is that "mass repatriations would severely tax the existing Afghan infrastructure, particularly in urban areas". But, neither the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, nor Pakistan, believes that a mass repatriation will materialise, the report added.
Noting that Pakistan had placed three major camps -Jalozai, Girdi Jungle and Jungle Pir Alizai - on its closure list every year since 2006 but has not closed them, it said that the estimated combined population of these camps ranges from 130,000-145,000 and they are in an area which, according to US media and official reports, is a major staging ground for cross-border attacks in and around Kandahar.