The final convoy of Afghans left the Jalozai refugee camp in Pakistan today, marking the close of the notoriously squalid site – a move that was immediately hailed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).“For much of the past year, Jalozai was tragic and visible evidence of the miserable plight of Afghans fleeing decades of war, abuse, drought, and deprivation,” High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers said, referring to the camp where up to 80,000 lived and many died. “Jalozai’s very existence was a sad reminder of the international community’s neglect of the Afghan situation prior to the events of September 11,” he said in a statement released at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. Senior Pakistani officials as well UN representatives were on hand today as the last buses pulled out of the camp, ferrying 1,570 refugees to three recently opened camps – Barkili, Shalman, and Asgharo – near the border with Afghanistan.More than 190,000 Afghans are currently housed in the new camps, where they can receive proper medical care and adequate food and shelter. The agency says the new sites can handle up to 250,000 people and that it will continue to relocate those refugees that request it into the camps.Jalozai first became a “precarious and unhealthy” home to tens of thousands of Afghans in late 2000, according to UNHCR. Crude shelters, made of canvas and plastic, were often flooded when it rained. The Pakistani government, already hosting more than 2 million refugees largely forgotten by the international community, was reluctant to officially recognize the new arrivals, the agency said. Many died, especially children, as relief workers struggled to provide minimum health and other services.“For the people who have spent the last 12 months in Jalozai, I think this has been a very bitter experience,” said UNHCR senior emergency officer Mohammed Adar. “They have lost quite a number of children there, and I would think that anybody who has been in the camp would wish that it had been closed a long time ago.”High Commissioner Lubbers, who visited the Jalozai camp last spring and made its closing a key priority of his first year in office, said Tuesday that “by finally emptying it today, we are demonstrating the international community’s renewed commitment to help end the suffering of the Afghan people.”