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    Joint body to probe Afghans' problems in Iran

    KABUL (PAN): A joint Afghan-Iran committee would be set up to look into the problems facing Afghan refugees in the neighbouring country, a minister said on Wednesday.

    "The committee will investigate cases of Afghans and work jointly with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to find solutions to their problems," Jamahir Anwari, the minister of refugee affairs, told a press conference in Kabul.

    Briefing reporters on his meeting with the Iranian interior minister, Mustafa Najjar, Anwari said the proposed body would meet from time to time to take resolve refugees' problems.

    According to UNHCR, more than one million Afghan refugees are living in Iran, with a large number of them staying there illegally. They are unable to work openly and face problems in receiving education due to restrictions.

    A private Afghan TV channel "Tolo" aired in January a video clip, showing dead and wounded refugees lying on the ground, with Iranian border forces watching them.

    Although Iranian embassy officials in Kabul rejected the video as fake, it sparked angry protests across the country.

    Najjar said that the problems of Afghans were exaggerated by media. "A decision has been taken to work together to address the problems of Afghan refugees and legitimise their stay in Iran and provide them work opportunities."

    The visiting minister also promised facilities for Afghans in the sector of education and a six-month extension in the refugees' legal stay in Iran.

    frm/ma