Crime Justice

Afghans fighting for Iran in Syria to face prosecution at home, officials warn

By Sulaiman


Iran uses this undated propaganda image to lure Afghans into the Fatemiyoun Division. [File]

KABUL -- Alarmed by Iran's ongoing recruitment of Afghans into its Fatemiyoun Division to fight in Syria's civil war, officials have warned that returning members will be prosecuted under Afghan law.

"Afghanistan is not a proxy war zone and battlefield for any country that disrupts our national unity, and we should prevent this proxy war," President Ashraf Ghani said during a September 18 meeting with citizens from western Kabul, a predominantly Shia area of the capital that "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) has repeatedly targeted.

"Every Afghan who fights in a third country is guilty of committing a crime, according to the Afghan Penal Code," Ghani said.

"The president made it clear that every Afghan who fights in another country -- whether it is Syria or elsewhere -- has indeed committed a crime," Shah Hussain Murtazawi, a deputy spokesman for Ghani, told Salaam Times September 20.


Fatemiyoun Division snipers in Syria are shown in a photo released in early October. [File]


Fatemiyoun Division fighters are shown in an undated photo from Syria. [File]

"Punishing those criminals is the responsibility of the Afghan judiciary," he said.

The Lawyers' Union of Afghanistan explained the law under which the returning Fatemiyoun fighters will be held accountable and prosecuted.

"The law stipulates that upon returning to Afghanistan, those Afghans who fight on behalf of a country as proxies in another country should be tried and punished," Gul Ahmad Madadzai, deputy director of the union, told Salaam Times.

"It is, therefore, incumbent upon Afghan intelligence and security agencies to interrogate the returning Fatemiyoun fighters, while judicial authorities are required to prosecute and punish them," he said.

Fighting for the Fatemiyoun Division

Ghani's comments last month were about the Fatemiyoun Division, a ragtag unit of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) made up of Shia Afghans. The unit fights for Iran and its clients, including the Syrian government.

Two streams of Afghans -- most already living in Iran as migrants or refugees and a smaller stream of those in Afghanistan who have succumbed to Iranian propaganda -- have joined the unit. They receive initial training in Iran before it sends them onto the battlefield in Syria.

Lately, the IRGC has staged a number of street celebrations in Iran for Afghan members of Fatemiyoun who died fighting in Syria's brutal civil war, including parading the dead Afghans' fatherless children.

These public demonstrations are part of a calculated strategy that the Iranian leaders use to lure and exploit Afghans and other Shia from around the Islamic world to fight and promote Iran's regional agenda.

"The president's address was to those Afghans who fight in Syria based on orders they receive from Iran, and it is obvious that the perpetrator of a crime should be tried and punished," Mohammad Asif Sediqi, deputy speaker of the Meshrano Jirga (upper house of parliament), told Salaam Times.

"Having Afghan nationals fight in Syria is against our national interests," he said.

"In fact, it has jeopardised the security of Afghans and Afghanistan," he said, adding, "The government must punish those individuals and prevent Afghans from fighting on behalf of Iran in Syria in whatever way possible."

"In order to stop Afghan refugees from fighting as Iranian proxies in Syria, save the lives of thousands of young Afghans and counter the increase in the number of ISIS attacks on our Shia compatriots, the Afghan government must put pressure on Iran through diplomatic channels and global consensus," Sediqi explained.

"Those inside Afghanistan who support the deployment of Afghans to the war in Syria are just as guilty as the fighters themselves -- and they too must be prosecuted," he said.

Deadly consequences for Afghan Shia

"The presidential announcement, which declared Afghans fighting in Syria to be criminals who should be punished, is a good step that will help prevent the participation of Afghan citizens in other proxy wars," Sediqi, deputy speaker of the Meshrano Jirga, said.

"Hundreds of my young, educated and hopeful compatriots have been killed or wounded," said Wahidullah Tabesh, 29, a resident of western Kabul.

"Taking advantage of Shia youths' despair, economic difficulties and their lack of information, Iran sends them to death in Syria," he told Salaam Times.

"Afghan youths are being killed by ISIS, both inside Afghanistan and in the Syrian war," Tabesh continued. "We welcome the ... punishment of Afghans fighting in Syria, as this will help deter other Afghans who wish to fight in Syria."

Countering Iran's proxy wars

Contrary to international law and Islamic principles, Iran is using young Afghan migrants in the Syrian war in order to accomplish its political and military objectives, said Aminullah Shariq, a Kabul-based political analyst.

"The prosecution of those Afghans who participated in the Syrian war and are now returning to Afghanistan is a completely logical and appropriate measure," he told Salaam Times.

"It serves as a lesson to those who think of participating in wars, in Syria or other countries, as proxies," he continued, adding, "Punishing them will reduce the number of terrorist attacks and other countries' proxy battles in Afghanistan."

"We call on our government, as well as on the international community, to prevent Iran from carrying out these heinous acts," he added.

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The government should be scared from Afghans who have fought for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, not from Fatemiyoun's lions [brave men].


Iran has created Fatemiyoun Division in order to use its militants against our government when they return to Afghanistan.


You are correct.


Greetings to you and to the lion-cabs of Fatemyioun.


Down with Iran! For, if Iran is destroyed peace will prevail in the entire region. Till when are you going to shed the blood of our people? If there really exists a God, then he will punish you in this world. Look how Iran got to the point that [the Iranian people] are eating dog meat. Perhaps, they will eat each other [cannibalism] pretty soon.


The Iranian government should pay restitution for the blood of these murders or else we should take our complaint against this country to the United Nations.


You and that rascal bald vulture of yours, Ghani, you both ate shit! Was it you or that bald vulture of yours, Ghani, who granted legal immunity to those cuckold Afghans who fight in Yemen under the leadership of Saudi Arabia, as well as those to those who fight against the Syrian government?


This is a good step and it has to be praised.


Don't you think that Afghans are fighting in proxy wars in nearly half of the world, and this is not exclusively limited to armed conflicts? They fight as proxies of ISI in the war of extremely difficult migration coupled with religious extremism in camps located in Pakistan and Turkey; they fight human traffickers on behalf of mafia on the borders of Iran and Turkey; they fight against heavy loads of shipments on behalf of commodity and product smugglers who put these heavy, contraband products on the shoulders of migrants when the cross the borders of Europe and Greece; with religious hardship and restrictions in U.K, U.S. and Canada on behalf of terrorist groups which have been created by the United States and its allies; and with the Muslims all over the world on behalf of terrorism.


Those Afghans who have been voluntarily going from Iran or Afghanistan to fight in Syria are neither mercenaries nor are they after any worldly objectives. They do so solely for the purpose of God's satisfaction, as protecting the holy shrine of Bibi Zaynab [Prophet's granddaughter] as well as to other holy Shiaa places. If necessity arises, there are thousands of other volunteer youths, including myself - who are prepared to resist the ISIS forces and defend their sacred places. We cannot care less about what Ghani or other Afghan officials say.


The enemy, who does not tell you his intentions, is because he is trying to deceive you through any way they can. The Fatemiyoun Division that has been created by Iran will fight against our government sometime in the future. Iran knows that it cannot defeat us, so it wants to stab us in the back.


I have a question for Mr. President, other government officials, and analysts regarding these statements. Let's take a close look to the past and present and then find out who are the responsible parties for the displacement of youths from this country.


What about those who are fighting in Syria on behalf of ISIS and Al-Nusra Front, or those who fight on the side of Taliban in Pakistan? Is this punishment has been only written as a law to target Shiaas? In Afghanistan, nothing is in its rightful place, for otherwise, Salaam News website should have been blocked, since all it does is sabotage and carrying out ISIS's objectives. The government should prosecute and punish the administrates of this website before going after members of Fatemiyoun Division.


Someone should ask Ashraf Ghani that, "how come you, who promised Saudi Arabia 4 years ago to provide them with military personnel - a decision which at the time created a big controversy within the Afghan government - is warning against [people] going to Syria, while there is currently no war in Syria. Hence, your warning has nothing to do with the security of Shiaa Afghans. If the government is truly concerned with the unity and security, then they should first do away with the sectarianism which is prevalent within the government itself...


Those Afghans who, with the support they receive from Saudi, murder Yemeni children, as well as those who, along with the ISIS, murder Syrian people, should also be subject to this punishment.


Most Afghans who participate in Syrian war consider fighting as a job or occupation, and their main concern is the financial benefits of war. In other words, had they have job security or sufficient income in Afghanistan, they would have never gone to fight in Syria in the first place. Granted, there may be some who go there for the adventure; but the majority use the monthly income they receive for fighting in war to provide for their families.


In my opinion, Quran has clearly stated that the one who prioritize his love for his material possessions and children over his duty to fight on the path of God, is a corrupt individual and will suffer God's punishment. Therefore, not only one who, based on his creed, stands up to defend a Muslim individual or a group of Muslims who are under attack by those apostate mercenaries of the West should not be prosecuted. Rather, he should be appreciated and exemplified as a role model for others. Regardless of the current political and sectarian issues, those who participate in Jihad based on orders explicitly stated by God almighty regarding the fight against oppression and global arrogance, will indeed be extremely happy in hereafter...


If Ashraf Ghani truly wasn't into sectarianism and wanted to help the Afghan Shia's, then he should have provide security in areas with high Shia population. However, it wasn't the case. Quite the contrary, these areas were lacking either election officials or ballots. This is the sectarian policy of Ashraf Ghani who wanted to leave Shi'as powerless. Indeed, we think we are not from Afghanistan, since there exists here discrimination between Shi'a and Sunni. To the one who says fighting in Syria is punishable by law: isn't this sectarianism punishable by law as well?


Iran is supporting the Taliban. Through murdering Afghan Shais and sending Afghan children to Syria, the Taliban is solely after serving Iran's interests. Defending of Sacred Shrine is nothing but an absolute lie.