Deportations continue as Iranian residence permit scheme for Afghans ends

By Ali

A deadline for Afghan refugees to apply for temporary residence permit documents in Iran has ended, even as the scheme has come under fire for failing to prevent deportations. [Abdullah Azizi/Salaam Times]

KABUL -- A deadline for Afghan refugees to apply for temporary residence permit documents in Iran has ended, even as the scheme has come under fire for failing to prevent deportations.

The Iranian regime on April 11 began offering six-month residence permits to undocumented Afghan refugees to encourage them to take part in a census.

Officials later extended the census until the end of June.

Some 1 million out of 5 million Afghan refugees residing in the country received temporary permits, according to Iranian officials.

Afghan refugees deported from Iran are seen July 4 at the Afghan-Iranian border in Nimroz province. [Abdullah Azizi/Salaam Times]

Afghan refugees deported from Iran are seen July 4 at the Afghan-Iranian border in Nimroz province. [Abdullah Azizi/Salaam Times]

Although Iranian officials say those without the residence permit will be immediately expelled from the country, refugees themselves have long said that the effort was solely a pretext for extortion.

"The issuance of the residence permits has done nothing to improve the situation of Afghan refugees in Iran," Mohammad Jawed Qurbani, an Afghan who was deported from Iran, said in Zaranj city, the capital of Nimroz province.

"The Iranian police continued to arrest and deport refugees regardless of whether they held the temporary permits," he said July 4.

"We were a group of 10 people who worked on a building in Mashhad. Six of us held the valid six-month permit, but the police arrested and deported all of us," Qurbani said.

"The Iranian regime's pressure on Afghan refugees has always remained intense and high," he said, adding that such pressure means refugees have to live in hiding and without peace of mind.

The offices responsible for issuing the temporary permits have all closed, said Khair Mohammad Ghulami, a resident of Herat who also was recently deported.

While the Iranian regime claims that refugees with valid residence permits may remain in the country legally, Iranian police arrest and expel them anyway, he said.

"The distribution of residence permits was just a show, and that's why I did not apply to get one. The only purpose of it was to get money from Afghan refugees," he said.

Worthless permits

The residence permits distributed by the Iranian regime have no legal weight in the country, according to Afghan refugees.

Iranian police continued to search for and forcibly deport Afghan refugees, said Noor Rahman, an Afghan refugee who is now in Zaranj city.

"I had obtained the residence permit a month ago, but even though I had it, Iranian security forces arrested and deported me," he said.

"I paid 4 million IRR (some 12,000 AFN or $136) for the permit, but... it does not carry any value," he added.

Many of the Afghans deported recently obtained the six-month permit, he said.

But there was no difference between those who did and those who did not, said Daoud, another deported Afghan refugee who goes by one name.

"Even though we did possess valid permits, bakeries did not give us bread, and when any storekeeper knew that we were Afghans, he [or she] would refuse to sell us food," he added.

Iranian citizens even refuse to rent their houses to Afghans because of the pressure from the Iranian regime, he added.

Despite his permit being valid for another four months, the Iranian police arrested and deported Daoud to Afghanistan without allowing him to collect his two months' outstanding wages from his employer.

Bad neighbour

Many Afghans are trying to escape unemployment and uncertainty back at home by going to Iran, but the regime instead of sheltering them expels them and puts their lives in greater danger, said Abbas Hussaini, an Afghan deportee from Iran.

"European countries and the United States are not Islamic countries, yet they have opened their doors to welcome Afghans. On the other hand, Islamic countries like Iran are doing the opposite," he said.

"Afghan refugees go to Iran to escape daunting challenges and poverty at home, but they face even more problems and humiliation there," he added.

When a country faces disasters and crises, its neighbours usually open their arms to its citizens, Hussaini said. Afghanistan's neighbours, instead, have turned their back on Afghans.

"Afghan youths migrate to Iran to escape unemployment and helplessness, but Iranian forces ruthlessly target and kill them. A good neighbour always should support a neighbour going through difficult times," said Shafi Kamyar, a civil society activist in Herat city.

"Afghanistan's neighbours, like Iran, must learn from Ukraine's neighbours, which have opened their borders to the war-affected Ukrainians," he said, referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"However, Afghanistan's neighbours are doing exactly the opposite by shutting their borders to the Afghan refugees," Kamyar said.

Any further increase in the deportation of Afghan refugees by Iran will only deepen the ongoing economic and social crises in Afghanistan, he warned.

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Salaam Times does not pay any attention to journalistic principles, nor does it takes care of them. The reason is that Pakistan does the same atrocities to Afghans daily as Iran does. But so far, I have not read on the Salaam Times page that they should make at least one report/news about it to show the people their unbiased journalistic mission and to write that, yes, Pakistan is also oppressing Afghans. They beat the youth every day. They indecently force women at the entry and exit gates and many other atrocities that Pakistan does to Afghans. Iran and Pakistan are ears of the same dog before Afghanistan. There is no difference between the two. In any case, both of them, the international community who calls itself defenders of human rights has misbehaved with Afghans. According to recent reports, the BBC has stated in its latest investigation that the commandos of the special forces of the British Air Force killed dozens of civilians in Helmand province between 2010 and 2011 without a court order. It means now, as Iran and Pakistan are killing/trying Afghans in the kangaroo courts, there is no difference between them and the international ones. If Iran and Pakistan are doing these atrocities now and their reports are being broadcast, the international forces have done it in Afghanistan for the past 20 years. Their intelligence networks are still active, torturing/killing Afghans under different names. Our request is to investigate the current and past atrocities victimizin


I read a story on Salaam Times quoting the deportees that the residence permit program is actually a trap and an excuse to deport the Afghan immigrants. Additionally, Iran received millions of dollars from UNHCR and other aid organizations for this program, and now as the program is ended they are of course prone to mistreat and torture the Afghan immigrants more violently. I call on the human rights organizations and the United Nations through your website, to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its crimes against the Afghan immigrants and not let the human rights of Afghans be violated anymore. No one leaves his own country on a whim; rather, they are forced to immigrate to another country. If one takes the dire situation of Afghans inside the country into consideration, Iran and other countries are responsible to treat Afghan immigrants according to international law. Shereen Alizai


If my own lover was good enough, I would not wish for other lovers


The Iranian regime has always used Afghan refugees and asylum seekers as a tool to put pressure on the governments of Afghanistan. During the era of republic, whenever relations between Afghanistan and Iran were deteriorating, Iran would begin to deport Afghan refugees. Even now, Iran is trying to use Afghan immigrants to force the Taliban to open the Kamal Khan Dam to Iran’s side. Iran has never been a good neighbor to Afghanistan and has always tried to victimize ordinary Afghans to maintain its interests. Death to oppressors and cruel human beings.


Unfortunately, no country has and wouldn’t treat Afghans properly. Although I personally hate Iran and Iranians because of their hostility towards Afghans, we must understand that hosting five million people from another country is not an easy job. You see, Pakistan regularly receives money, from different organizations including the World Health Organization, UNICEF, UNHCR and other international organizations, for hosting of one or two million Afghan refugees, but I am not sure if the aforementioned organizations also provide such support to Iran. Actually, everyone builds his house for himself. It is better for the world to compromise with the current rulers of Afghanistan, provide aid and not let Afghans emigrate from one country to another.


The BBC said the investigation was based on visits and investigations by courts, emails, and journalists sent to Afghanistan. The channel called the British military's action a war crime. According to the study, senior officers of the British Air Force's Special Forces were shocked at the deaths of so many Afghans at the time, and the reasons given by their troops did not seem logical. The study said British forces had been warned several times by their superiors. However, senior officials did not raise their suspicions about special forces inside the army being investigated. General Mark Carleton Smith, then commander of the British Special Forces in Afghanistan, was informed of the killings but could not report them to the British military police, according to a BBC report. Carleton Smith, fired from the British military last month, declined to comment. According to the report, under British law, conducting military operations without informing the Commander-in-Chief of the Military Police is a criminal offense. According to the BBC, over the years, investigations into more than 600 violations by Air Force Special Forces commandos have been launched by the British military police. Still, the case has been closed without any results. Colonel Oliver Lay, the commander of British forces in Afghanistan at the time, told the BBC's Panorama that there was talk of a tragic issue that needed to be thoroughly investigated.


Correct. Iran is evil; it is a pig; it is an apostate. It is the eternal enemy of Afghans, and it has been proven. You can see the behavior of our international friends, which is well described in detail in this report: Taand (Tuesday, July 11) -- Amnesty International has called for an immediate investigation into allegations of war crimes by British troops in Afghanistan. A study by the BBC World Service, published in a program on Saturday, found that the British Air Force's Special Commando Units killed 54 civilians between 2010 and 2011 without legal bases; however, the British army has hidden the facts. According to a study by the BBC's Panorama program, British troops have suspiciously killed those Afghan men and youth they thought were old enough to fight on various missions in similar ways. The report, released after four years of investigation, says that civilians have been forced to confess at gunpoint in some cases. Amnesty International's London-based South Asian researcher, Zaman Sultani, said after the BBC's report: "Amnesty International calls for an effective and transparent investigation into allegations made against British Special Forces in Afghanistan so that victims can be given justice and perpetrators be brought to justice." I will send you more in another comment. It cannot be placed here.