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Efforts on to legalise Afghan refugees' stay in Iran

Efforts on to legalise Afghan refugees' stay in Iran

Aug 14, 2011 - 16:28

KABULinfo-icon(PANinfo-icon): The government has launched efforts to legalise Afghan refugees' stay in neighbouring Iran, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.

A high-level delegation is expected to travel to Iran in the near future to discuss the matter with Iranian counterparts, the ministry's spokesman, Janan Musazai, told a press conference in Kabul.

The team would also try to resolve the problems being faced by Afghans in Iran and determine their legal status, he said. Iran's policy on refugees would also figure at the meetings, he said, without elaborating on the policy.

However, the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation said the Afghan living in the neighbouring country were supposed to register with the Iranian government under its refugee policy.

Islamuddin Jiryat, a spokesman for the ministry, told Pajhwok Afghan News that refugees had to receive their registration cards in Iran and then return home to get visas.

The Iranian interior ministry recently said the Afghan refugees who had obtained their cards could get visas from the Iranian embassy and consulates in Afghanistaninfo-icon in order to live a legal life in that country.

But Jiryat said the Afghan government did not agree with Iran's refugee policy. He added Iran had no right to take a unilateral decision in this regard.

In July, a 30-member Afghan delegation visited Iran to discuss the problems facing Afghans there. Currently, nearly 2.5 million Afghans are living in Iran, with 1.4 million of them staying illegally.

As many as 5,000 Afghans have been detained in Iran. Sixty percent of them have been arrested on the charge of smuggling narcotics into Iran.


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