Deported Afghans face economic hardship upon return from Iran

KABUL, Afghanistan — A number of Afghans deported from Iran are reporting severe economic difficulties due to scarce job opportunities in Afghanistan.

The returnees describe a bleak situation, exacerbated by the winter season and an uncertain future, leaving them struggling with numerous challenges. Many of them recount having sold all their possessions to migrate to Iran, only to return without adequate shelter or sufficient food.

Suhaila, a mother of five and the head of a seven-member family from Badghis, shared her story: “I sold everything to provide for my children in Iran. But after enduring many hardships, we were forcibly expelled.” She added, “We’ve been back in Afghanistan for a year with nothing to eat.”

Hundreds of immigrants like Suhaila return to Afghanistan daily, many reporting mistreatment and abuse by Iranian police and facing uncertain prospects in their homeland.

Salim, from Balkh Province, recounted his four-year stay in Iran: “When we were deported, those who couldn’t pay were beaten. They even took 850 Tomans from each of us and emptied our bank accounts.”

Tariq, a resident of Nangarhar, described his forcible return: “Caught by Iranian police after being sent back from Bulgaria, we faced harsh treatment and beatings before being deported to Afghanistan.”

Iran’s Minister of Interior recently announced that “undocumented” immigrants will be expelled. The ministry estimates nearly six million Afghan immigrants in Iran, with two million seeking refuge in the last two years.

Asifa Stanikzai, a migration expert, emphasized the broader impact: “The surge in forced deportations of Afghan immigrants affects employment, inflation, and public services. It’s vital for authorities to support and organize these migrants.”

Taliban statistics indicate that the number of Afghans returning or being deported from Iran has doubled compared to last year, with daily figures ranging between 3,400 and 4,500.