Afghan diplomat calls world to help with economy, refugee return

An international programme to raise the Afghan economy from the ruins must start as soon as possible, Kazi Ekhsan, officer for refugee affairs of the Afghan Embassy to Iran, and its Second Secretary, said to Novosti.

Many countries promised money aid--but none has come for today, while humanitarian problems are obsessing a majority of the nation, he complained.

Iran is hosting an approximate 2,350,000 Afghan refugees, and another 96,000 have returned home from frontier areas thanks to an UNHCR-inspired Iranian-Afghan intergovernmental agreement.

Afghanistan is eager for further teamwork with Iran and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, added the diplomat.

Afghanistan has any security problems any longer, and there is every reason to hope for upcoming stability, he pointed out.

Other bad problems persist, however. Thus, long warfare and years under the Taliban regime left the national education network in ruins. There is no schooling to speak of.

When prompt relief efforts provide normal life, Afghan refugees will eagerly come home from the many countries which are hosting them, Mr. Ekhsan said assuredly.

He refuted rumours of recent Afghan refugees fleeing back to Iran en masse. Such instances are only occasional--people encounter economic hardship, malnutrition and scanty housing, and so seek shelter in places which can offer a better living, explained our interviewee.

He thanked Russian and Iranian leaders for assistance to Afghan refugees in their countries. Afghanistan has been through 23 years of warfare, and eagerly meets help from any country, Russia and Iran being no exception.

Afghanistan is ready to join hands with all countries in regional security efforts. All-round constructive partnership will rule out relapses of terrorism and drug traffic throughout the country, and promote stability and security in that part of the world, said the diplomat.