A Human rights organization has announced thousands of Afghans have been crossing into Iran daily since the Taliban seized Kabul in August and hundreds of thousands more are expected to arrive in the coming winter.
Head of Norway Refugee Council has urged the international community to help thousands of Afghan refugees entering Iran with food and shelter.
Jan Egeland, Secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, after visiting Iran’s Kerman province near the border with Afghanistan, asked the international community to help Afghan refugees with food and shelter.
Egeland told The Associated Press that after the Taliban grabbed power in Afghanistan, thousands of Afghan refugees fled the Taliban and crossed the border into Iran daily.
“Many of the refugees called their relatives, telling them they are on their way to Iran and many want to go on to Europe, so Europe should be less occupied with a few thousand refugees sitting on the Polish-Belorussian border. More people came today to Iran than are now on that border,” Egeland stated.
The Norwegian Refugee Council estimates that since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August, 300,000 people have left Iran.
“Millions and millions are in need for food and shelter,” Egeland warned.
According to Egeland, in winter in Afghanistan, when the condition would be “horrific” because of bad economic conditions in the country, “hundreds of thousands of additional refugees will leave Afghanistan for Iran”.
Refugees from Afghanistan have been coming to Iran since 1979 when Soviet troops occupied the country.
It’s estimated that there are 800,000 registered Afghan refugees in Iran and 3 million more undocumented.
Iran has been supporting the new arrivals, Egeland told The AP, but more aid needs to be sent to help during the cold months.
“How can you expect Iran to shoulder this responsibility on their own?” Egeland noted, adding, “What Europe should do is invest in hope, possibility, opportunity inside Afghanistan and in the neighboring countries if they want to avoid people wandering towards Europe.”