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Afghan Refugees Refuse To Leave Pakistan

11 August 2005 -- Thousands of Afghan refugees defied orders to leave camps in Pakistan's tribal region that are being closed for security reasons.

Refugee leaders said today they needed at least two years to move out of the camps, adding that many of the refugees had lived there for 20 years.

Refugee leader Sher Muhammad said some of the Afghans had set up businesses and purchased property and he believed it would take two years to settle these affairs.

Muhammad called on the Pakistani authorities to review the decision to close down the camps.

The Pakistani government has ordered camps in the Bajaur and Kurram regions closed by the end of this month.

Pakistani security forces have launched several operations against Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants in the tribal areas near the Afghan border since last year.