Iran ‘sends back’ over 90,000 migrants to Afghanistan in past three months

Migrants from Afghanistan in Islam Qala border city in Herat.

Iran has “sent back” at least 90,000 migrants from Afghanistan over the past three months, Iranian authorities said, confirming that they have been sent back to their country through the Taybad area in Khorasan Razavi province.

The general director of the migrants’ office in Khorasan Razavi province, which borders Herat province in Afghanistan, said the migrants returned voluntarily. However, activists said that many of the migrants had been deported “forcefully and violently.”

“They were faced with two big problems: lack of a fair life in Iran and lack of employment opportunities in their own country. Given this, they have decided to return to their country no matter what happens to them,” said Dr. Khorshid, a former Afghanistan diplomat in Iran.

Hundreds of thousands of Afghanistan nationals left for Iran after the fall of the previous government in mid-August 2021 – of which many fled to Iran.

A few months ago, Iran’s justice minister said that Iran was the final destination of 63 percent of refugees from Afghanistan.

“Many of the migrants who have been deported have lacked any type of stay document in Iran. This needs to be addressed by making a plan for helping these migrants,” said Asifa Stanekzai, a refugee rights activist from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan nationals leave the country for Iran to seek safety, move to Europe, and find a job there.

“There is a need for fundamental planning in the long run. It means that the energy of the new generation that decides to migrate should be used within the country,” said Hafeez Ahmad Miakhil, a former advisor to the migrants and repatriation ministry.

The UN’s migration office, IOM, has said that 3.6 million people from Afghanistan have left the country in the past two years – 70% to Iran, 18% to Pakistan, 11% to Turkey and two percent have sought refuge in other countries.