Thousands of Afghan refugees return from Iran according to Taliban ministry

Thousands of Afghan refugees return from Iran according to Taliban ministry
Anti-Afghan sentiment in Iran has risen following two deadly attacks in Shiraz over the last year.
2 min read
28 August, 2023
The Taliban's Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations announced that thousands of Afghans had returned to the country from Iran [Getty]

Thousands of Afghan refugees are returning to Afghanistan from Iran, according to the Taliban's Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations.

According to a ministry statement posted on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday, 2627 Afghan refugees had returned via the Islam Qala border crossing with Iran in Herat province on Sunday.

The statement came after a previous statement made on X on Sunday claimed that 774 Afghan refugees had returned to the country on Saturday.

Many of the returnees were referred to the UN's International Organization for Migration office for assistance.

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Although the reasons for the returns were not specified, the influx of refugees returning to Afghanistan from Iran comes amid increasing anti-Afghan sentiment in the latter country.

One member of the Iranian parliament, Nouri Qazaljeh, warned of the political, economic and security challenges posed by migrants, including Afghans, in Iran.

Much of this sentiment has risen following recent terrorist attacks in Iran, with the attacks in Shiraz this August and last October being blamed on foreigners, including Afghans.

Two Afghan's were executed in Iran for the attack in October that killed 15 people, although Iran Human Rights called their trials grossly unfair.

Likewise, Iranian relations with the Taliban have steadily declined since the hardline Islamist group took over the country in 2021, with deadly border clashes occurring between Iranian and Taliban forces over the last two years.

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Many Afghans fled to Iran due to the Taliban's takeover. with the UN stating the number of registered Afghans in the country now amounts to 780,000 people, with more than two million more undocumented.

Taliban rule has been accompanied by an economic downturn in the country that has meant an increase in poverty and child malnutrition.

The Taliban have also severely restricted  women's rights, with women being barred from secondary and university education, many forms of employment and public spaces.