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UN Refugee Chief Urges World Not To 'Forget' Afghans In Pakistan

An Afghan refugee family stands by trucks loaded with their belongings as they wait to go back to Afghanistan in Peshawar in February.

The UN's top official for refugees has urged the world not to "forget" the millions of Afghans forced to live for decades in Pakistan because of war in their home country.

Pakistan has the world's second-largest refugee population -- 1.5 million -- most of them Afghans having lived for years in poor conditions in camps in the northwest.

On a visit to the camps in Pakistan, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said Afghanistan needed help to create an environment in which people returning could thrive.

Guterres said that Afghans were still the second-largest refugee group in the world, after Syrians.

Islamabad is keen for the refugees to return to Afghanistan, with more than 65,000 going back this year -- a considerable improvement over last year's 25,000.

Last week, the UN said the number of people forced to flee war, violence, and persecution has soared to a record 60 million, and the situation was getting out of control.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP