Iran deports Fatemiyoun Division members despite promises of residency

By Ali

A shrine in Mashhad, Iran, on August 6 displaying photos of members of Fatemiyoun who died in Syria. [Fatemiyoun]

A shrine in Mashhad, Iran, on August 6 displaying photos of members of Fatemiyoun who died in Syria. [Fatemiyoun]

HERAT -- Hussain Ali, 29, was living in Mashhad, Iran, seven months ago when the police arrested him.

Despite being a member of the Fatemiyoun Division, a militia comprised of Afghans and formed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)'s Quds Force, Ali was detained, beaten, robbed and then deported to Afghanistan via the Islam Qala crossing.

Ali had fought alongside Fatemiyoun in Syria, deploying three times to the war zone over two years.

"I was working along with my friends in a building in Tehran when members of the [IRGC] visited us one day and told us that the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS) had attacked Zahra's shrine in Syria," said Ali, who now lives with his parents in Herat city.

Afghan refugees deported from Iran are seen August 9 in Islam Qala, Herat province. [Emran/Salaam Times]

Afghan refugees deported from Iran are seen August 9 in Islam Qala, Herat province. [Emran/Salaam Times]

The IRGC told Ali that as a Shia he had a responsibility to defend the shrine -- before threatening him with deportation if he did not agree to fight.

"They told us that our lives would not be in danger in Syria," he said. "They also promised permanent residency and a house in any Iranian city of our choice upon our return from the war in Syria."

Ali said he witnessed death many times during his time in Syria.

"They brought me back to Mashhad after the completion of my two-year mission," he said. "I waited for months to get my residency and house. Every time I went to the IRGC office for a follow-up, I did not get a clear answer."

"When the Iranian police detained me and did not listen when I told them that I was a member of the Fatemiyoun Division, I realised that all of the promises by the Iranian government were false," he said.

'Like slaves'

The IRGC long has been accused of making false promises in order to recruit for the Fatemiyoun Division.

"I witnessed on many occasions when the Iranian military treated Fatemiyoun members like slaves," said Qudratullah Mohabat, a resident of Laghman province who was recently deported from Iran.

"Fatemiyoun members do not have a good life in Iran," he said. "They barely survive with the salary the Iranian government pays them. It is completely false to say that the Iranian government gives Fatemiyoun members houses and facilities."

"The Iranian government still encourages Afghan refugees in Iran to join Fatemiyoun," Mohabat said. "Members of the Iranian military mostly go to Hazara and Shia youths and exploit their religious sentiments."

The Iranian government also uses Fatemiyoun against Afghan refugees in Iran, said Nazir Ahmad Faizi, a resident of Badakhshan province who also was recently deported from Iran.

"Most Afghan refugees in Iran are identified and detained by Fatemiyoun," he said. "I witnessed many times Afghans affiliated with Fatemiyoun arresting Afghans and transferred them to camps."

"Fatemiyoun members mistreat Afghan refugees as much as the Iranian soldiers do," Faizi said. "They have been trained to suppress Afghan refugees or even Iranians who are against the country's regime."

Fatemiyoun members blindly follow any order they get from the Iranian government, Faizi added.

Threats to Afghanistan

That blind obedience makes Fatemiyoun particularly dangerous to Afghanistan, say observers.

"There has been a power and security vacuum in Afghanistan that Iran can easily exploit for its economic, military and intelligence objectives by using Fatemiyoun," said Abdul Qader Kamel, a political analyst in Herat city.

"The Iranian government has been supporting insurgents for years to stop the construction of irrigation and hydro-electric dams in the western regions of Afghanistan or to destroy these infrastructure projects," he said.

"On behalf of Iran, Fatemiyoun is the greatest enemy of Afghanistan's ... dams right now."

In view of the recent developments in the country, it is very likely that Fatemiyoun will get involved in conflicts in these regions, Kamel said.

The Fatemiyoun Division is a mercenary group for the Iranian regime, which can deploy it wherever it wants, said Khair Mohammad Azizi, a civil society activist in Ghor.

"The Iranian regime has armed and placed hundreds of Fatemiyoun members secretly across the central provinces of Afghanistan," he said. "The Iranian regime can use these fighters for its interests anytime it wants."

"Besides ISIS and other terrorist groups, Fatemiyoun is a major threat to Afghanistan's security," he added. "The group is completely under the Iranian government's control, and it fights against anyone the Iranian government asks it to."

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Iran was never interested in the protection and support of Fatemiyoun members, and the members of this division should knew from the very beginning that the Iranians wouldn’t fulfill their promises. Iran has been the enemy of Afghans throughout history and has proved itself as a misuser country. During the Iran-Iraq war, Iran was forcing the Afghan refugees who had taken refuge in Iran from the Afghan civil war to fight in the war against Iraq. For the blood of Afghans had no value to them, the Iranians were always sending Afghans to the dangerous areas and fighting front-lines. They were not taking Afghans who were wounded in the war to the hospital and leaving them to die. They were not delivering their bodies to their families to burying them and leaving them to be eaten by animals and scavengers. The same scenario is going on now too. Afghans would never forget these betrayals and hypocrisies of the fascist and infidel regime of Iran.


After reading this report, I have another concern. I sympathize with those Afghans oppressed by Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey who are expelled from their countries. But one thing is that Iran may send some members of Fatemiyoun who are given military training to Afghanistan based on a special program. This can be done in the form of deportation. It can be done by beating and pulling them out. Once inside Afghanistan, they will be used by Iran for their specific goals. These people who are deported from Iran should undergo a biometric process and record their information. In the future, it should be considered that the plans of Iran's evil regime are not implemented.


When the United States can extirpate an organized army just after achieving its goals, why shouldn’t Iran treat a proxy group like this? The United States trained the Afghan Army for 20 years and spent money on them, provided them with equipment and instruments. When they realized that their interests are secured somewhere else, they then stopped supporting the Afghan Army. Unfortunately, for 20 years, the Afghan Army was organized in a way as it wasn’t able to do anything without the logistical and supportive assistance of the United States. The United States had purposely regulated the Afghan army this way. The United States retrieve all its support from the Afghan Army without any prior notice which led to the collapse of the Afghan Army. Whatever the United States did in Afghanistan indicated that no other country can make a country stand on its own. Fatemiyoun division must learn from the situation. They should stop fighting for the interests of others and not inflame Afghanistan by obeying the direction of Iran. They shouldn’t let Iran misuse their misery. No one is honest with them. Therefore it’s good for them to come back to their homeland and despite many obstacles try to start a peaceful life in their homeland.


With the consolidation of relative stability and the defeat of ISIS in Syria, the mission of the Fatemiyoun Division has ended for Iran, and Iran practically doesn’t need these people anymore. Once upon a time, these militias were the right hand of Iran. Due to the fighting morale of the members of this division, Iran could achieve many achievements on the battlefield. Although these militias are of low consumption, due to the international sanctions on Iran, this country is not able to afford the expenses of this division. Along with it, by deporting them from its soil, Iran tends to force them to go back to Afghanistan. Since the Fatemiyoun are accused of committing war crimes in Syria, they can’t go to Turkey or any other country. Hence they have to come back to Afghanistan. It’s also possible that by deporting them to Afghanistan, Iran wants to have them as a reserve force to be used against the Taliban government. Iran is an intervener, evil and disloyal country.


I am surprised by your mission. You have published dozens of times the atrocities of Iran against Afghans. You have done well. Thanks for raising the voice of Afghans; however, Pakistan has created big trouble for our country. They looted our country. They got everything at a cheap price and took it away. They don't have mercy on us. They take stuff in trucks. No one can stop them from doing so. And no one tells them where they are taking them? Pakistanis are assigned to our institutions. They do whatever they want to. They took all the confidential documents of the time of our republic. Recently, Mufti Abdul Hakim, a member of the press of the Taliban, who is now analyzing in favor of this group in television debates, said in a television debate that the government institutions in the Taliban regime are filled with people who are either Pakistani citizens or have close ties with this country. He admitted this issue in a discussion on Shamshad TV. He said that if the Taliban does not change its policy and does not remove people committed to Pakistan from its ranks, there is a possibility that this group will get isolated. So, if you think that the Taliban admits the presence of Pakistani citizens in their ranks, what else can we say? But they destroyed their country. We hope that you (Salaam Times Agency) will show the dirty face of Pakistan to Afghans with your detailed reports...


It's a good thing. I don't remember what I read about Pakistan's support for terrorists in Salaam Times. Maybe Salaam Times is a Pakistan military or intelligence website that does not write anything about Pakistan's atrocities. I am telling the officials of Salaam Times that we know that Iran is the enemy of Afghanistan, but Pakistan is our bigger enemy than Iran. Please don't try to make us forget our main enemy—death to Pakistan and supporters of Pakistan.


It is true that Iran has enmity with Afghans. They beat the Afghans. Salaam Times always reports on Iran's crimes against Afghans, but Salaam Times never reports on Pakistan's crimes against Afghans. Pakistan has destroyed our homeland and is still destroying our homeland, Afghans should join hands and build their homeland by themselves.


Iran is a very mischievous country. They misused and continue to misuse the compulsion and ignorance of Afghans. They have the status of cancerous gland in the area. The evil regime of Iran has not only started destruction in Syria, Iraq, and Palestine but has also continued the war in Afghanistan for decades. Afghans forgot Iran's interference in Afghanistan and still trusted Iran. Still, they started a war in Syria in favor of Iran. Well, we will accept that Afghans have become poor due to wars, their homeland has been destroyed, and their houses are destroyed, so they who are doing everything now will get their sustenance at the cost of their heads. These are all the weaknesses the neighbors have found in our existence, and our pulse has become known to them. Because of these compulsions, the Iranians promised to give the Afghans houses and citizenship in exchange for fighting in Syria. But no, the Iranians knew in advance that they would not provide cover or citizenship. They used it like toilet paper, spoiled their enemy, and achieved their goal.


Iran is indeed hostile to Afghans. They beat, torture, and even kill Afghans. Salaam Times always publishes reports about Iran's atrocities on Afghans, but Salaam Times never publishes reports on Pakistan's atrocities against Afghans. So far, I have not read any news or article in Salaam Times that talks about Pakistan's support of terrorists in Afghanistan or Pakistan's financial and military support to terrorists.