Iran’s plan to repatriate Afghan refugees without permits – EFE Noticias – Agencia EFE

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Tehran, Apr 9 (EFE).- Iran announced on Tuesday that it will expel Afghan refugees lacking legal documentation to stay in the country, a move that could affect hundreds of thousands of people in the world’s second-largest host of Afghan migrants.

“Individual ‘foreign nationals’ without (residence) permits will be repatriated to their respective countries by relevant authorities,” Iranian interior ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said that Iran has no “possibility” to accept and host more Afghan refugees and migrants on its territory.

“Afghan migrants should return to their homeland and rebuild Afghanistan” after decades of conflicts, it added.

The ministry criticized that the invasions by foreign countries, including the United States (2001-2021), in recent decades have led to “disaster and crisis” in Afghanistan, causing “an influx of refugees towards neighboring countries.”

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Iran hosts over 2.6 million registered Afghans, including around 500,000 without residency permits, along with an unspecified number of unregistered migrants

However, the Iranian government estimates that around five million Afghans reside in the country, with many of them lacking legal documentation.

The influx of Afghan migrants into Iran has significantly increased in the past three years, particularly since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in August 2021, prompting hundreds of thousands of human rights defenders, women, journalists, and former government officials to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Iran has expelled 345,000 undocumented Afghans since 2021, according to the Afghan Ministry of Refugees.

In a bid to prevent the illegal entry of new Afghan refugees, Tehran is considering the construction of a wall along its 950-kilometer porous border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan and Iran jointly host around 90 percent of Afghan refugees worldwide, a mass exodus that began with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. EFE

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