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U.N. Pulling Out of Afghan Areas

November 19, 2003|From Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United Nations' refugee agency is pulling its international workers out of eastern and southern Afghanistan and suspending all aid to refugees returning from Pakistan after one of its employees was killed last weekend.

Filippo Grandi, head of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Afghanistan, said about 30 foreign staffers were being withdrawn, and refugee centers shut, in Nangarhar, Paktia, Khowst and Kandahar provinces. The agency has withdrawn its surviving international staffer from Ghazni province, where Bettina Goislard, 29, of France was slain Sunday.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has agreed to expand its 5,000-strong peacekeeping force beyond Kabul, the capital, though details have yet to be worked out. More than 1,000 refugees return home weekly, officials say.

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