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Turkmenistan: Afghan Refugees Flow Over Border

By Mohammad Nazar

Ashgabat, 3 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - The flow of Afghan refugees into Turkmenistan continues, with eyewitnesses telling RFE/RL that about 2,000 Afghan Pashtun refugees, who crossed the border recently, are congregated in border villages.

Observers tell RFE/RL the refugees are not in immediate need of food or clothing, and that they have brought with them their own tents, livestock and belongings.

In mid-November, up to 1,600 Afghan Pashtun refugees were reported to have crossed into Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan has increased patrols after reports that nearly 20,000 Afghan Pashtuns were massing near the border.

Taliban Islamic fundamentalist forces, who took control of Kabul in September, are mostly ethnic Pashtuns. Reports have said the Pashtuns have been fleeing the forces of ethnic Uzbek faction leader Abdul Rashid Dostum, who controls northern Afghanistan and is a leader of an anti-Taliban alliance.