Photo: IRNA News Agency

Iran deports 224000 refugees to Afghanistan, vows for strict border control

Iran has deported tens of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan back to the Taliban-ruled country in recent months amid worsening humanitarian, human rights, and economic crises.

Sardar Majid Shuja, the border guard commander of Iran’s Khorasan Razavi province told the Iranian state news agency IRNA that 224,000 illegal refugees were identified from across Iran since March and sent back to Afghanistan through Taybad border, a crossing point to Afghanistan’s western Islam Qala. 

Shuja indicated that the deportation of refugees from Afghanistan has increased by 15% this year compared to 2022.

At least 30,000 illegal refugees who attempted crossing through the province were apprehended by Iranian authorities during this time, he added.

The Iranian border guard commander also highlighted strict border control policies, saying that the Iranian authorities will not allow illegal crossing through the Taybad border and will deal strictly with human traffickers.

When the Taliban swept across the country in August 2021, tens of thousands of people crossed the western border to take refuge in Iran, escaping retaliation, instability, and economic meltdown. The UNHCR states that 2.6 million Afghanistan refugees arrived in Iran in recent years.

A recent report by the UNHCR shows that Afghanistan is among the top three countries with the highest number of refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced people in 2022. The report stated that of a total of 108.4 million people displaced, 5.7 million are from Afghanistan.