The United Nations refugee agency says the number of Afghan exiles seeking assistance to return home this year surpassed 400-thousand on Thursday.
In a statement, Friday, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, said the total number of returns since the fall of the Taleban government in late 2001 has now reached four-point-two million. The statement says more than two-thirds of these returned from Pakistan and the remainder from Iran.
The agency says that while some people have returned without assistance, the vast majority of those who went home received help under a UNHCR aid program. This includes money for travel and other expenses. The UN refugee agency says the number of Afghans returning home has increased in part because of neighboring Pakistan's decision to close many refugee camps on security grounds.