Iran steps up deportation of Afghan refugees

At least 3,000 Afghan refugees return to Afghanistan from Iran every day, many of whom are forcibly returned, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials have reported.

Investigations by the Ministry of Refugees found that 7,500 people entered Afghanistan from the Iranian border in the past two days.

According to the ministry, of these people, 5,500 were forcibly returned to Afghanistan by the Iranian government.

People who went to Iran due to political developments or poverty and hunger, now have bitter narratives of forced deportation from Iran.

“When you leave Afghanistan, extortion and looting begin. They [Iranians] are very annoyed,” said one of the forced returnees.

“On the way back home, if you get caught by them, they will take money from you, in short, they will do whatever they want,” said another forced returnee.

Questions have been raised however as to why Iranian forces have become heavy handed in their treatment of Afghan refugees lately.

“Issues such as the influx of immigrants into Iran, the lack of capacity to accept new immigrants, and diplomatic issues have led to an increase in forced returns,” said Asifa Stanikzai, an immigration rights activist in Iran.

Kabul, however, wants good relations with Tehran and wants them, to host Afghan refugees for the time being.

The Deputy Spokesman of the IEA said that if Afghans return from Iran, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Refugees, facilities will be provided for them on their return.

“The Islamic Emirate wants Iran to be a good host, as in previous years, until a normal situation returns in Afghanistan,” said Bilal Karimi, the IEA’s deputy spokesman.

After the recent developments and the fall of the previous government, the rate of illegal immigration to Iran has increased significantly.