UN official visits Afghanistan in bid to solve refugee problem

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ruud Lubbers, on a four-day visit to the war-ravaged country, has already met with the Ministers for Refugees, Rural Rehabilitation, the Economy and Foreign Affairs and is due to see President Hamid Karzai on Saturday, agency spokesman Tim Irwin told a news briefing in Kabul today.Bad weather forced Mr. Lubbers to postpone until tomorrow a flight to the southern city of Kandahar for talks with the provincial governor and a visit to a camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) run by UNHCR. He will also see an income generation project in operation.Today he is visiting UNHCR operations in Parwan province.More than 3.5 million Afghan refugees have returned home since the start of the voluntary repatriation programme in 2002 following decades of occupation and civil war in their country. UNHCR believes just under 1 million Afghans now remain in Iran, and another million are still living in refugee camps in Pakistan. An unknown but substantial number are also living in cities across the country. read more