https://afghanistan.asia-news.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_st/features/2020/03/31/feature-02
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Fatemiyoun members gather in crowds despite escalating coronavirus threat

Salaam Times

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A photo published by the Fatemiyoun Division on March 29 shows its members in a tight group around a foosball table. [File]

KABUL -- The Fatemiyoun Division -- a militia made up of Afghans and commanded by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) -- appears blissfully unaware of the dangers that close social contact pose in transmitting the deadly coronavirus that is upending societies across the world.

As of Tuesday (March 31), the worldwide death toll from the affliction had reached 38,714, while the number of infections closed in on a million.

The Division published a number of pictures Sunday (March 29) of its members participating in a number of sporting competitions, with a number of images showing the militants packed closely together and even wrestling.

Governments across the globe have mandated lockdowns and strict social distancing of their citizens -- even that of Iran, one of the countries hit hardest with the virus.

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A photo published by the Fatemiyoun Division on March 29 shows two of its members wrestling while their comrades watch. [File]

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A photo published by the Fatemiyoun Division on March 29 shows its members watching a volleyball game. [File]

Despite the overwhelming news coverage of the virus, Fatemiyoun fighters appear to be functioning as if the world was not in a health crisis.

In one photo, a tightly packed group of members surrounds a foosball table. In another, two members are wrestling while others nearby look on. Several other photos published by the group show similar flouting of health safeguards during this crisis.

Meanwhile, Tehran is spreading conspiracy theories in an attempt to deflect blame from how the Iranian regime has bungled its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

International concern has been growing over the Iranian regime's lack of transparency in delivering accurate information to the public regarding numbers of COVID-19 patients and deaths.

The country had 2,898 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 as of March 31, but the true number could be many times higher. Satellite footage in March showed Iranian crews digging mass graves.

Deaths mounting

The media channel of the Fatemiyoun Division has also been busy publishing pictures of the many funerals being held of fighters who were killed in Syria supporting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

The coverage of these events in Iran reignited Afghan outrage over the militia's activities.

In late February, Iranian state media broadcast reports and photographs of funerals for Afghans killed in Syria.

Now, as Syrian government forces gain ground in Syria and have less need for Iranian-backed militias, Tehran might try to use Fatemiyoun in Afghanistan, creating even more carnage, according to experts.

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Do these Afghans who are fighting for the interests of Iran in Syria and Iraq and sacrificing their lives, know how badly Iran treats their compatriots in Iran? Do they know that the hospitals of that country do not admit Afghans who are infected with Corona disease? This Fatemiyoun group must feel ashamed. If I were in the place of these idiots, I would have left the Fatemiyoun group right away and come back to Afghanistan and join the country's security forces.

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Why don’t these people fight to protect Afghanistan, while they are fighting for the other countries’ interests? Now Afghanistan's situation is worse than any other country in the world. They should fight for their own country. They should join Afghan National Army and police and fight against the terrorist groups.

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