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Australian wheat for Afghan refugees

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Australian. wheat for Afghan refugees

Australia is to provide 20 000 tonnes of wheat to assist Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the Minister for Trade and Overseas Development, John Kerin, announced today.

The shipment of Australian wheat will be channelled through the World Food Programme (WFP) and forms part of the Government's commitment to WFP to provide $6 million in food aid this financial year for protracted refugee operations.

"There are over three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and two million in Iran.

"Although it was widely believed that most refugees would return quickly to Afghanistan following the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, this has not occurred.

"Continued insecurity and the existence of vast numbers of anti personnel mines throughout the country have deterred refugees from returning to Afghanistan."

Emergency assistance for the Afghan refugees forms part of the Australian development cooperation program, administered by the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau (AIDAB).

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CANBERRA For further information contact AIDAB Public Affairs: Wendy Levy - (06) 276 4966 Tony Melville - (06 276 4971.