Mass Repatriation: Afghan Migrants Voluntarily Return from Iran Amid Immigration Concerns
The article discusses the voluntary return of hundreds of thousands of Afghan migrants from Iran to Afghanistan and highlights concerns and criticisms from both Afghan refugees and the Taliban.
In a significant development amid the issue of illegal immigration, hundreds of thousands of Afghan migrants have voluntarily returned to Afghanistan from Iran, according to Iranian local media reports. The National Organisation for Migration in Iran has estimated that there are approximately four million illegal migrants residing in the country. Javad Khani, the official responsible for managing illegal migrants, highlighted that the majority of these migrants are concentrated in eight main towns, including Tehran and Khorasan Razavi. It has been reported that around one million of these undocumented Afghan migrants have been issued with identity cards so far.
While the influx of Afghan refugees into Iran has raised concerns and prompted increased deportations, Afghan refugee representatives have criticized the Iranian government and the international community for their perceived lack of support. The Taliban has also called on neighboring countries to refrain from deporting Afghan refugees. Last week, Afghan refugees in Iran expressed their concerns about the escalating deportations, arrests, and harassment by the police.
The repatriation of Afghan migrants from Iran is occurring in the context of the recent visit to Tehran by a delegation from the de-facto Taliban government in Kabul. While the primary focus of the visit was on expanding trade ties between the two countries, the issue of Afghan refugee repatriation also featured in discussions. Iran's Foreign Minister highlighted the importance of handling refugee-related issues intelligently and with sensitivity. It is worth noting that the Iranian people and government have been accused of being oppressive towards refugees by representatives of Afghan refugees in Iran.
According to Spogmai Jabbarkhil, an Afghan refugees' representative, Iran forcibly pushes out refugees ahead of the winter season. Afghan refugees in Pakistan are also facing intensified deportations, further exacerbating the challenges faced by Afghan refugees in the region. The situation surrounding Afghan migrants in Iran remains complex, with ongoing debates surrounding support mechanisms and the urgency of addressing the challenges faced by Afghan refugees.