Iran deporting thousands of Afghan refugees


Iran deporting thousands of Afghan refugees

The IOM estimates over one million Afghans have been sent back this year, despite dire conditions awaiting them.

Buses arrive at Islam Qala, on the Afghan side of the main border crossing with Iran, every afternoon

Iran is sending tens of thousands of Afghan refugees back over the border, aid agencies and witnesses say, amid allegations of mistreatment by Iranian authorities.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) found that just over one million Afghans have been sent back this year, including more than 28,000 Afghans in the last week of October, despite the dire conditions awaiting them.

“The majority were deported, returning to Afghanistan often broke and broken, in need of health support, food and rest,” IOM director general Antonio Vitorino said in a statement on Thursday.

Millions of Afghans crossed into their western neighbour seeking to escape violence and a shattered economy after the Taliban takeover of Kabul in mid-August compounded the crisis, disrupting international aid flows just as severe drought left more than half the population facing acute food shortages.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) estimates as many as 4,000-5,000 Afghans have been crossing into Iran daily since the Taliban seized power, with hundreds of thousands more expected to arrive in the coming winter.

Last month, the UN declared that Afghanistan was on the brink of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with more than half of the country facing acute food shortages.

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