Official: Iran repatriates 20,000 illegal Afghan migrants

About 20,000 undocumented Afghan migrants in Iran have been detained and sent back to their home country by Iranian security forces during the past two weeks, the border guards commander of the Khorasan Razavi Province, neighboring Afghanistan, says.

General Majid Shoja’ said on Saturday, “During the last 15 days, the border guards of the Taibad Border Regiment repatriated 20,000 Afghan nationals who had come to Iran through Dogharun border and they were handed over to the Afghan administration representatives.”

The commander said Afghan refugees can enter Iran through legal border crossings; otherwise, they will be arrested and sent back to Afghanistan.

Official figures put the number of Afghan refugees in Iran at about five million, a vast majority of them undocumented.

Many Iranians say the influx of refugees after the takeover of the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan is posing a security challenge for Iran. They also complain that the refugees are straining the country’s shrinking resources amid crippling Western sanctions.

Meanwhile, in many cities, Iranians increasingly perceive undocumented Afghans as a threat to security and society, as there are concerns about radicalization among Afghan refugees.

Officials however reject these concerns, saying creating friction and dispute between Iranian citizens and Afghan immigrants is the enemy’s “new project”.

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