• Short Summary

    INTRODUCTION: The Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan has recalled all discharged military personnel under the age of 35 for one year's active service.

  • Description

    GV Water tanker.

    CU Water pump and PULL BACK TO GV water tanker, and women refugees carry away pales of water. (2 SHOTS)

    GV & SVs Refugees treated at Saudi Arabian Red Crescent tent. (4 SHOTS)

    GV & SVs Grain weighed and distributed. (5 SHOTS)

    CUs Afghan refugees in camp. (2 SHOTS)

    SV & CU OF Camp administrator checking refugees cards. (5 SHOTS)

    GV Vehicles for camp.

    GV & SV Grain being loaded onto trucks. (4 SHOTS)

    GV, SV & PAN Refugee children in education tent. (2 SHOTS)


    WATSON: "In the months since the Soviet troops intervened in Afghanistan the emergency, ad hoc refugee relief programme has given way to a well defined administrative structure.

    "Refugee management has become a fully fledged arm of the Pakistani government while international aid is largely looked after by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the World Food Programme.

    "There are also a host of smaller voluntary operations such as this Saudi Arabian Red Crescent Clinic. One of the doctors treating the women and children of this camp is Burmese while the other is an Afghan refugee herself. All sides agree that the all-up cost of caring for the Afghans this year will be about four-hundred million dollars. Half of that amount will be carried by Pakistan itself and there is growing concern in Islamabad that if the Afghan crisis continues it may eventually be left with the entire bill. Those fears may be well founded. One western aid officer told me that the Afghan refugees were no longer a glamorous charity in the outside world.

    "Undoubtedly, this is the largest refugee population in the world today but the actual numbers vary. The United Nations, for its aid purposes, says there are about one-point-seven million people in the camps while Pakistan's government claims that there are two-point-three million. The Pakistani officials say the arrival rate is still over a hundred-thousand a month while western aid officials say it's well below that figure. The aid officer I spoke to said that he had found cases of double registration and he believed that Pakistan was pushing the numbers up to ensure that there was enough aid in the first place and that is kept coming.

    "In the couple of days that I spent in Pashawar a shipment of four-wheel drive vehicles arrived from Japan and three thousand tonnes of wheat from West Germany. However, I was told it was becoming increasingly difficult to convince people in the West to give. As a result, the Pakistani government is quick to act when allegations of corruption hit the press. Al refugees are currently being issued with new registration cards following the disclosure of a scandal involving aid going to 25 thousands bogus Afghans. Fifty aid workers were sacked.

    "Pakistan's aid contribution largely goes in transport, shelter, clothing, health care and food. In the area of education it provides the books and other materials while the teachers are drawn from the ranks of the refugees themselves.

    Initials JS

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: INTRODUCTION: The Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan has recalled all discharged military personnel under the age of 35 for one year's active service. It's believed many of the former soldiers in the cal-up age group have gone into hiding or joined the lines of refugees crossing the border into Pakistan. According to the ABC's Trevor Watson, and estimated twelve per cent of the total Afghan population have fled to refugee camps in the northern provinces of Pakistan.

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    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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