Briefing note

Left behind: Waziristan refugees in Afghanistan risk being forgotten as humanitarian assistance decreases

Published 15. Oct 2019
Unable to return to Pakistan and stuck in a legal limbo in Afghanistan, the 72,000 refugees from Waziristan living in Khost and Paktika provinces are being left behind as international organisations withdraw.

In 2014, the Pakistan military operation in North Waziristan District, an area in the northwest of Pakistan and bordering Afghanistan, led to the displacement of thousands of civilians into Afghanistan, primarily into Khost and Paktika provinces.

While many of these refugees have since returned – it is estimated that approximately 72,000 refugees remain, the majority living in Gulan Refugee Camp in close to the internationally recognized border between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Khost. In addition, cross-border clashes around the Durand Line in May 2019 displaced a further 750 families from North Waziristan into Khost as well as over 400 refugee families who had been previously residing in Paktika.

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