Iran continues to expel legal Afghan refugees
ZARANJ (Pajhwok): Despite having legal residency documents, Afghan refugees continue to be expelled from neighbouring Iran, an official alleged on Wednesday.
Nimroz Refugees and Repatriation Director Muhammad Akbar Chakhansori told Pajhwok Afghan News 10 to 15 families used to return from Iran daily. The number has now increased to 20.
Iran declared Sistan and Balochistan as prohibited areas in 2007, forcing the refugees with legal documents to shift to other parts of Iran. And the illegal Afghans were repatriated.
The director quoted some returning families as saying that they had been repatriated despite having legal documents.
Gul Baran a resident of the Musa Qala district of Helmand province, said he had spent 15 years in the Mazindaran area of Iran. But a month back, he was forcibly repatriated along with his family.
He claimed having legal immigration papers. Given mounting insecurity in Musa Qala, he has since been living with his family in a rented house in Zaranj -- the capital of Nimroz.
Chakhansori said most of the refugees coming through the Silk Road were residents of north and northeastern provinces, including Takhar, Baghlan, Faryab and Jawzjan.
He added refugees were being registered in Zaranj, where they were issued with migration cards by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). They are temporally housed in a camp.
The World Food Program (WFP) provides edibles and IOM contributes transport fares for their return to home provinces.
On the other hand, the number of youth going to Iran has doubled, according to the refugees’ department. Last year, 350 of youth immigrated to Iran, but now the figure has increased to 500-600 a day.
The director said those going to Iran suffered traffic incidents on the way. Recently 13 Afghans were killed in to a traffic incident in Sistan-Balochistan.
The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation says less than a million Afghans in Iran have legal documents, while 1400,000 are illegal.
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