Afghan Refugees: Is International Support Draining Away after 'ho Decades in Exile?

Rupert Colville
Afghanistan holds all the refugee records, bothgood and bad. Howver, as the remaining refuges enter their twentieth year in exile, in tema tional support forfinding a solution to their predicament appears to be dwindling as the Taliban consolidate their hold on Af-ghanis tan while simultaneously aliena t-ing much of the outside world. Because of insufficient funding, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has had to curtail voluntary repatriation programs in 1998 and reports a
more » ... 98 and reports a bleak outlook for 1999. LJAfghanistan dbtien t tous les records en ma tihe de rtifugibs. Les meilleurs et les pires. Or, alors que les derniers r e g i t s en tamen t leur vingtiheannbed'exil, le sou tien international de la recherche d'unesolution d leursort sembles'effnter h mesure que les Talibans consolident leur domination sur le pays, tout en se mettant deplus en plus d dos le concert des nations. Pourcausedefonds insuffisants, leHaut Commissariatdes Nations Unies pour les r&%gits a du rbduire ses programmes de rapatriement volontaire sur I'Afghanistan en 1998, et prhoit une conjoncture particuli2rement morose pour 1999. Rupert Colmllehas &en UNHCR's Regional Public Infirmation Off'icer based in Islamabad since October 1996. B e e that he spent over four years at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva, startingas editor ofthefist edition ofrhe State of the World's Refugees, and then as a Public Infmmation officer and spokesman cooering North Africa, the Middle East and South and Central Asia. In all, he has been covering Afghanistan and neighbouring countries for a total offioe years. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect theofficial views ofUNHCR.