As the Afghan rebels continue their fight against Russian forces inside Afghanistan, the number of refugees fleeing the conflict has passed the one million mark.
GV Khyber Pass ZOOM IN TO Border post (Green Oasis, North-West Pakistan)
SV Pakistani flag ZOOM OUT TO GV OF border post, signposts showing distances to other towns and a warning that visitors are not to pass without passport 93 shots
SV ZOOM OUT TO GV Of refugees carrying bundles (2 shots)
GV Refugee camp PAN ACROSS Showing tents (Kacha Garkhi, near Peshawar) (2 shots)
GV Children around drinking well
GV Of camp life, potter, child drinking, refugees building mud wall (5 shots)
GV ZOOM IN TO Teacher writing on blackboard in tent, with children looking on (3 shots)
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Background: As the Afghan rebels continue their fight against Russian forces inside Afghanistan, the number of refugees fleeing the conflict has passed the one million mark. Their main refuge is Pakistan, which is bearing the brunt of the exodus. Even though millions of dollars are being poured into Pakistan for the refugees, the government is having difficulty containing local resentment against the Afghans. As the number of new arrivals grows, clashes between the foreigners and the local tribesmen have been reported. Their great fear is that the Afghans will stay in a land that can scarcely support the existing population.
SYNOPSIS: The main avenue to Pakistan is through the Khyber Pass, the traditional gateway to Afghanistan. Refugees from war-torn Afghanistan are currently arriving at an estimated three-thousand-a-day. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced in August that more than a million Afghans have taken refuge in Pakistan since the Russians invaded in 1978.
Those who stream through the Green Oasis border post include Pathans and Kirghiz, Pashtuns and Tajik. All come from different areas of Afghanistan, have different languages and widely varying cultures. The local Pakistanis are wondering if the influx will end. Apart from the Palestinians, the Afghans now represent the biggest concentration of refugees in the world.
The threat to local tribesmen is serious. The refugees are competing for water and land. The Pakistani authorities are concerned over recent clashes which have broken out between the local tribesmen and the refugees; clashes over the use of scarce resources. Local inhabitants believe the Afghans are showing signs of staying permanently.
Education is just one of the costs the Pakistanis are paying for the refugees. Earlier this year 55-million-dollars was earmarked by the UNHCR for the refugees, but this amount had to be doubled in line with the increasing number of new arrivals.