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Pakistan Extends Stay For Afghan Refugees By Three Months

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has extended the stay for Afghan refugees in the country until March 2017, pushing back the previous deadline by three months.

Sharif approved this decision at a September 9 cabinet meeting.

A government statement quoted Sharif as saying that Afghan refugees were "guests" of Pakistan and that measures will be taken to ensure their safety.

The announcement comes as Afghan refugees accuse Pakistani authorities of harassment before the expiration of the previous December 31 deadline.

Pakistan is hosting at least 1.5 million refugees. An additional 1 million unregistered Afghans have been staying in the country since the 1980s, when they fled the violence at home.

In a June statement, the Pakistani government said Sharif had ordered the authorities to work with the UN refugee agency and the Afghan government to gradually relocate the refugee camps from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

Islamabad says a number of militants are hiding in the camps.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal and AP