Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees, unable to settle in Pakistan, return to their war-torn home country. Yiming Woo reports.
About 137,000 Afghan refugees have left Pakistan this year to come back to their homeland ravaged by war and now, militant attacks. They left home to escape strife, but many of them were unable to settle permanently on the other side of the border. They say life became harder still, after Taliban gunmen killed more than 140 students at a Pakistani school last December. Islamabad blames the attack on militants based in Afghanistan. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHAN REFUGEE, RAHIM KHAN SAYING: "Right after the school attack in Peshawar the situation became worse for Afghan refugees who live in Pakistan. Whenever we were going to the bazaar police kept harassing us and demanding bribes, to give them 1000 or 2000 Pakistani rupees, otherwise life was tough, and we were unable to pay money." At a UN refugee centre, children are given lessons on the dangers of landmines. Some refugees who have returned ask for government help. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) OMAR UDDIN, AN AFGHAN REFUGEE RETURNED FROM PAKISTAN, SAYING: "Now that we have come back to Afghanistan, we don't know what to do here and how to find a job. We want the government to pave the way for us to find a job and give us shelter for living." The Afghan government is struggling to cope with the insurgency and peace talks with the Taliban have collapsed. Many refugees don't see much reason to stay. Nearly one million Afghans have lost their homes in the fighting, and almost everyone knows someone trying to get to Europe.