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U.N. agency: Organized smuggling of refugees reported

GENEVA, Switzerland (CNN) -- The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Monday that Afghans with money are resorting to organized smuggling networks to move people across closed borders into neighboring countries.

According to the latest UNHCR news update, the last reported price for the journey from Kandahar, Afghanistan, to Quetta, Pakistan, was the equivalent of about $100 for a family of six. The amount, a large sum for Afghans, is well beyond the reach of most families.

The agency says almost all minorities wanting to leave the country are forced to use smugglers and are apparently being charged more for everything on either side of the border.

"UNHCR is particularly concerned about the very poor, as well as minorities. Many people have trekked long distances from areas in the north and northwest of the country that are affected by drought and the warfare there. These areas include Kunduz, Balkh and the Hazarajat," the UNHCR said.

It is extremely difficult, the agency says, to help new arrivals from Afghanistan. Many are staying out of sight because they are afraid of being deported.

"Some benevolent individuals and charitable groups in Quetta have been giving food, clothing and other items to a few destitute families who have just arrived from Afghanistan. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that there are now many families living in extremely difficult circumstances," UNHCR said.



 
 
 
 



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