UN office in Pakistan attacked by Afghan mob

Hundreds of Afghan refugees ransacked a United Nations refugee agency office in northwest Pakistan to protest the delays in repatriating them.

The mob destroyed computers, iris checking machines, furniture and a UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) vehicle in the unexpected riot late Wednesday in Peshawar near the Afghan border.

Police had to disperse the crowd of between 300 and 600 at the registration centre, which is processing thousands of refugees who have been ordered to leave Pakistan by mid-September.

Refugees have arrived from different camps across Pakistan to pass through the registration centre in Peshawar, where they must undergo iris validation tests to stop them coming back through the porous border with Afghanistan.

According to officials about 1,000 Afghans left the site early Thursday and the situation was now under control. A dozen policemen guarded the site Thursday while UNHCR staff collected the damaged equipment.

Around three million Afghans still live in Pakistan. Many have lived there for years, having fled the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.

Pakistan has ordered the closure of all refugee camps in the semi-autonomous tribal regions because of security concerns. It originally gave an August 31 deadline but it has since given them until September 15, the AFP reports.

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