Iranian plan to deport millions of Afghan refugees draws condemnation

By Omar

An announcement by Iranian authorities of plans to deport five million undocumented Afghan refugees has drawn criticism from Afghans. The deportation of Afghans from Iran will worsen the economic crisis at home, say observers. [Omar/Salaam Times]

HERAT -- An announcement by Iranian authorities saying that they plan to deport millions of undocumented Afghan refugees from the country has drawn criticism from Afghans.

Iran will deport all Afghan refugees who have no residence documents, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi told journalists September 27.

Wahidi said that five million Afghan refugees live illegally in Iran.

The deportation of Afghan refugees from Iran will worsen unemployment and poverty in Afghanistan, say observers.

Afghan refugees deported from Iran are seen October 4 inside a UN refugee camp in Herat city. [Omar/Salaam Times]

Afghan refugees deported from Iran are seen October 4 inside a UN refugee camp in Herat city. [Omar/Salaam Times]

"Four decades of conflict and instability has forced millions of Afghans to leave their country and take refuge in other countries, including in neighboring countries," said Abdul Qader Kamel, a political analyst based in Herat.

"In the last two years, many Afghans were forced to seek refuge in Iran from unemployment and security threats," he added.

The deportation of Afghans will add to the ranks of the unemployed and impoverished in Afghanistan, exacerbating the economic crisis there, according to Kamel.

Doing so before the situation in Afghanistan is stable is irrational and inhumane, Kamel said.

Under the prevailing circumstances, conditions for the return of millions of Afghan refugees from neighboring countries are unsuitable, said Arash Hadid, a civil society activist in Herat city.

"Afghans have gone to Iran to find work to save their families from poverty," he said. "The deportation of these refugees will further poverty and hunger in Afghanistan ... Iran should not deport millions of Afghans in the current situation."

"No other country treats the refugees from their neighbors with such violence and oppression as Iran does."

"We call on international organizations to pressure Iran to change its decision," Hadid said.

Inhumane treatment

Afghan refugees deported from Iran have long accused Iranian forces of beatings, torture and extortion.

Jahid, 23, was recently deported from Iran even though he had legal Iranian residence documents.

Iranian police beat him up and tortured him, he said Wednesday (October 4) from a United Nations (UN) refugee camp in Herat city.

"While I was waiting in line in a bakery to buy bread in my work uniform, the police picked me up," he said.

"I had my work and residence permits issued by the Iranian government with me. Even though I showed them these permits, they tore them up and deported me."

"While Iran considers itself a Muslim country and a neighbor of Afghanistan's ... instead of sheltering Afghans, it deports them," Jahid said. "Other Afghans and I had sought refuge in Iran for work, but it did not shelter us."

Iranian police even tear up Afghans' passports and Iranian visas and deport them, he said.

Iran's treatment of Afghan refugees is un-Islamic and inhumane even as it claims to be an Islamic country, Abdul Hakim Qurbani, 31, who was deported from Iran recently, said Wednesday.

"The United States and Europe have accepted Afghan refugees, but as a neighbor, Iran won't give refuge to Afghans," he said at the UN refugee camp.

"Not only does the Iranian government not give refuge to Afghans, it takes money and belongings from Afghan workers in the country and deports them ... empty-handed," he added. "I went to Iran five months ago to earn a living for my family, but Iranian soldiers took all my money. Now I don't even have a single afghani to take back home."

The Iranian military subjects penniless Afghan refugees to every kind of abuse and beatings, Qurbani said.

Sayed Ahmad, 57, a resident of Maidan Wardak who worked in six months in Iran, said that Iranian police picked up him and several of his friends as they were sleeping and deported them after beating them up.

The breadwinner of a family of eight, Ahmad said that he was forced to go to Iran to support his family.

"Iranian police hit me on the head with a stick when they picked me up. The police beat us so much that they got tired," he said. "While transferring us to the detention center, the police took all our money."

"The Iranian government is Islamic by name, but its behavior is un-Islamic and inhumane. It puts around 10,000 Afghan refugees in one large warehouse, giving each one of them a piece of dry bread just to survive," he added.

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It should be remembered that the freedom of the tribal residents on both sides of the Durand Line for their traditional movement was guaranteed in the Kabul Treaty of 1921. Thirty years ago, when President Ziaul Haq realized that the United States was no longer interested in Afghanistan, he defined Pakistan's policy towards Afghanistan, which was not much different from the policies of the colonial government of British India in Afghanistan. He stated that "we have earned the right to have a power in Kabul that is very friendly towards us. As a front-line nation, we have accepted serious risks and will not allow a return to the pre-war situation characterized by extensive India and Soviet influence and Afghanistan's claims to our own country. These days, two years after America's withdrawal from Afghanistan, this perception is as true as it was when it determined Pakistan's policies regarding Afghanistan thirty years ago. As mentioned above, Pakistan's all-out support to the Taliban was to bring to power a dependent government in Kabul with the aim of controlling the foreign transit trade and policy of the Afghan government. For Pakistan, the establishment of independent policies by the Taliban officials is a betrayal of their commitments to the blessing of Pakistan. 5/5


These hostile actions against Afghanistan come at a time when Afghanistan's transit trade through Pakistan had a staggering 67% increment during the fiscal year 2022-2023 compared to the previous fiscal year. These hostile actions against Afghanistan come at a time when Afghanistan's transit trade through Pakistan had a staggering 67% increment during the fiscal year 2022-2023 compared to the previous fiscal year. These actions of Pakistan have many similarities with the transit restrictions imposed by Israel on Gaza. While the timing of these measures raises questions, especially since some import restrictions were recently eased, political factors may have played a major role in Pakistan's shift. The recent tensions along the areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan may have influenced this decision. These developments could have dire economic consequences for Afghanistan, as the country may be forced to choose longer and more time-consuming transit routes due to restrictions in Pakistan. For Pakistan, increased transit costs and roadblocks could potentially change the use of Pakistan as a convenient transit country for Afghanistan, which could create further obstacles for the country's already battered economy. At the same time, contrary to the interaction of the past 135 years, the imposition of passport and visa regulations by the current government of Pakistan for the tribal residents on both sides of the Durand Line for their traditional travel is further political pre


Recently, under the pretext of trying to prevent smuggling and strengthen control over transit trade, Pakistan's Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) and Pakistan's Ministry of Commerce have implemented a series of strict measures that affect the transit of commercial imports to Afghanistan. It means the transit of Afghanistan's imported materials from Pakistan's ports to Afghanistan's soil. These initiatives include banning several items of commercial cargo to Afghanistan, imposing transit tariffs, and increasing surveillance inspections on transit cargoes to Afghanistan. The Ministry of Commerce of Pakistan has banned the transit of various items including textiles, car tires, black tea, household appliances, cosmetics, toiletries and dry fruits to Afghanistan. At the same time, it has applied a 10% tariff on the main categories of Afghanistan's transit goods, which include confectionery, chocolates, shoes, machinery, blankets, textiles, etc. Also, detailed and re-examination of the cargo during transit after clearance from the port of entry has been adopted. The newly enacted regulations also require the provision of a bank guarantee equal to tariffs and taxes for shipments to ensure that the shipments reach their intended destination in Afghanistan. Apparently, these preventive measures are in response to growing concerns about the smuggling of Afghanistan's imported goods through Pakistan. It is said that the low customs tariff in Afghanistan and the imposition of special impo


This way, without doubt, when the Taliban came to power in Kabul, Pakistan was the main winner and thought that it has achieved its goals in Afghanistan. But why did Pakistan support the Taliban? To bring a dependent government to power, with the aim of controlling the foreign policy of the Afghan government, curbing the nationalism of Pashtuns on the two sides, and replacing it with extreme Islamism, controlling the Baloch liberation movement, creating strategic depth in confronting India and preventing India's influence in the western borders, and the provision of reliable transit lines between Pakistan and Central Asian countries through Afghanistan. Achieving the above goals is in fact the essence of Afghanistan policy, all the governments of Pakistan have been in Afghanistan after the fall of the monarchy of Mohammad Zahir Shah, and in order to achieve that, the Pakistani government is engaged in a new colonialism game in relation to Afghanistan. With the fall of the republican government and the return to power of the Taliban on August 15, 2021, it seemed that the main winner in this great game of the 21st century is Pakistan, but in the following two years, relations between the Taliban and Pakistan deteriorated, and now with the implementation of a hostile policy against Afghan displaced and migrants by the interim prime minister of Pashtun descent, who, according to himself, came to power with the support of the army generals, these relations have reached their worst


Pakistan's hostile policies against Afghans and Afghanistan have gained new dimensions. Pakistan tried to have an upper hand in the formation of the future political system of Afghanistan. Events that followed August 15, 2021 showed that Pakistan used its extraordinary influence over the Taliban to install a completely submissive government. While Pakistan reluctantly accepted the decisive role of the United States in Afghanistan, it was unhappy with its marginalization in the Doha negotiations. But it did not take long that after the occupation of Kabul by the Taliban, differences between the groups including Tehreek-e-Taliban regarding the composition of the new government of the Islamic Emirate faced difficulties in establishing its government system. While it was expected that Mullah Brother and prominent members of the Taliban negotiation team in Doha would occupy important government positions, but with the strong opposition of the Haqqani group, which has close support of the ISI or Pakistan's military intelligence agency, and is in charge of the military operations in Afghanistan, they faced with differences and with the intervention of the chief of ISI, who traveled to Kabul, they were pushed aside and appointed to second and third level positions, and instead, extremist groups within the Taliban leadership and the Haqqani group held the positions of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, and the deputy directorate of national security. 1/5


Iran and Pakistan are two ears of the same pig. They are dirty. They are criminals. Now I watched on Aljazeera tv Iranian foreign minister's words where he said that, 'if the scope of war expands, America will also befall effects'. If I would have authority, first of all I would destroy the nuclear weapons of Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China, America, North Korea, Britain, Canada and etc. Then, I will destroy all the weapons of mass destruction that kill more than 3 people. Then all the weapons that kill a human at all. It was really disappointing for me as I heard American authorities when they declared support from Israel. Hamas and Israel both are terrorists; Hamas is a terrorist organization and Israel is launching state terrorism. Both of them are equal. Both of them kill innocent civilians. Both of them kill children and women. None of them should be support. Both are sons of bitch. Fuck both of them.


Can you tell us why your news is old? This is your latest story. Although it is useful and informative, but it is from October 6, while today is October 12. Please publish your news on daily bases. Salaam Times is one of the most reliable Dari and Pashto sites that publishes on various topics, especially in relation to Iran, Russia and China. With regards, Jamal Saidi


I also agree with your point of view. Salaam Times is a reliable source that publishes very good analytical and research reports these days. The disadvantage of delay in publishing news on the website will be that its audience will decrease day by day. So, I hope that any technical problem you have are solved and fresh news be available to the audience.


It has been several days since continuous earthquakes occurred in Afghanistan's Herat, Badghis, and Faryab provinces. These earthquakes have caused severe financial and self-loaths for the people. Around 3,000 people were killed, 10,000 were injured, and by recovering those under the rubble, the death toll and the number of those injured can rise. People need aid in these provinces. As the current government of Afghanistan has very few incalculable possibilities through your media outlet, we call on international organizations not to leave Afghans alone and not to consider politics in this condition. Here, the people could hardly get a loaf of bread; however, the Afghans here and there still tried to share the one loaf of bread they owned with the earthquake victims of Herat, Badghis, and Faryab and delivered the basic aid to them. However, these aids are tiny and have little effect. However, still, the Afghans shared whatever they could and owned. Still, because of the number of dead and injured in the mentioned provinces and tens of houses are destroyed in several districts, and Afghans cannot afford it, we hope that a wide range of aid will be provided. Afghan nation would not be left alone in tackling this tragedy.


Afghan immigrants living in Iran should welcome the decision of Iranian government authorities. Let us build our homeland for ourselves. The homeland of others will never be our homeland. How long will we be immigrants? How long will we be away from our mother's arms? If we would not feel peace in our mother's arms, we can't feel peace in any other corner of the world. Almost 35 million people live in Afghanistan. All these people can find a piece of bread for themselves and their families. No one has ever died of starvation. God willing, if these 5 million Afghans who live in Iran return to their homeland, our homeland might prosper and it is possible that the lives of these 5 million Afghans will get better, not worse. The decision of providing sustenance to the people belongs to Almighty Allah, not to the humans. We should try to develop our homeland, not foreign countries. The homeland of others is not ours, nor is it good for us to live in other countries. Let's join hands and build our homeland for our future generation. Other countries do not enrich our homeland for us.


In these difficult economic conditions, none of Afghanistan's neighboring countries should forcibly expel Afghans from their countries. This is not the demand of humanity and there is no such thing in Islam. Afghans who work in Iran and Pakistan have borrowed money for paying their bus fares, hoping to earn a few pennies and give it to their children to buy flour and oil. By deporting them in this bad situation, you are killing them intentionally, because there is no job and no duty in the country! so what do you do? We hope these immigrants will be provided with work, not forced or deported.


Neighbors have always given us grief. We have never seen happiness from them. Yesterday, a severe earthquake occurred in the neighboring province of Herat, killing and injuring hundreds of people. However, investigations into the causes of the Herat earthquake should be carried out. Afghanistan is the home of dormant volcanoes, so it has the privilege of being safe from earthquakes. The epicenter is 25-31 kilometers away from Afghanistan. I don't know the geology, but a 4.3 magnitude earthquake destroys houses. The epicenter of the quake is not very deep in the ground. Iran, which revealed its underground military facilities long ago, is not without doubt. Most of the countries' underground nuclear tests for secret nuclear activities are also evident from history. There is doubt that Iran has committed some mischief in the areas near Afghanistan, hidden from the eyes of its people and the world. Young Afghan geologists should come forward in this matter. Similarly, international responsible agencies should conduct an impartial investigation into this matter to discover the real story.


Iran cools its anger and hatred with these things. A proverb says: I can't kill you; I will kill your father. Since they cannot influence Afghanistan's ruling system, they focus on targeting refugees. At the same time, Afghanistan's economic situation does not allow working people to come back and become a burden on their homes. We know, and God will bring the moment, what we need to do with Iran and Pakistan. In such situations, the poor Afghans must be given a hand. They should not be expelled. They can't do more than this considerable enmity, even they would have done it. People say one thing: don't beat the poor, tear his clothes. For us, this is death today, when working people are laid off, and their children and wives come to them asking for a piece of food, and they cannot help.


The world has indeed set rules and regulations for migration. No other country will immigrate or leave their country like Afghans. And the main reason for this migration is that Afghans choose not to work. Here in Afghanistan, they have an unorganized, disorganized, and undisciplined life, but they will embrace a humane way of life if they travel to foreign countries. If they show humanity in their own country, how much better it would be? If they continue working and sowing humankind in their own country, they won't resort to corruption, cheating, and lethargy. I am sure that one day, people from the rest of the world will come to Afghanistan. People from the rest of the world are still visiting Afghanistan, but that visit is only to see our funny life, how proud but careless people we are, and what a mess our country is. It would be good if we had worked in our own country, so today we would not languish in the prisons of Iran, Pakistan... Those countries that break the rules of the international refugee organizations in terms of migration and look down on refugees, especially Afghan refugees, have the right to do so because these refugees have invested for years in those countries. If they had brought their investment to their homeland and the governments had provided opportunities to these people, they would not have returned from other countries with such a humiliation.


Afghans are mistreated not only in Iran but also in Pakistan. Pakistan's ministers and even Prime Minister Anwar Haq Kakar have ordered the evacuation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan. Pakistan made this announcement while winter was coming, and the conditions for refugees returning to Afghanistan are unsuitable. On the one hand, Pakistan forced our people to fight against the Soviet Union, in which millions of Afghans were killed. At that time, the Pakistani press and intelligence called Afghan fighters by the names of Ghazis and Mujahideen and said that Afghanistan's Jihad was for the defense of Pakistan. Then, in the 1990s, the same damned Pakistani army and intelligence elements led Afghan organizations that Pakistan had founded into conflict with one another. As a result, the city of Kabul was destroyed, and tens of thousands of Kabul citizens were killed. After that, Pakistani intelligence created the Taliban group. During the 20 years of the republic and the presence of the international coalition troops in Afghanistan, Pakistani intelligence received money from the United States in the name of fighting against terrorism. On the other hand, it received money and weapons from the Russians and China. It spent it on the Taliban to fight against the government of Afghanistan and the international coalition. As a result of this hypocrisy of Pakistan, the democratic system collapsed, and Afghans suffered. Women's rights were violated, minorities' rights were violated, girls'