Returnees from Iran anxious about harsh winter, no jobs

KABUL (SW) – As winter approaches and thousands of migrants are deported from Iran every day, returnees complain about the lack of job opportunities in Afghanistan and their poor living conditions.

The returnees from Iran say that unemployment and poverty in Afghanistan forces them to decide to go to Iran for the second time.

Basir Amiri, a resident of Sar-e-Pul, told Salam Watandar: “I came to Afghanistan for two months, there was no work here. I went to Iran again, I was in Iran, I got deported again, there were no jobs and living conditions here, and I have decided to go back for the third time.”

For some time now, the process of expelling Afghan immigrants from Iran has intensified and thousands of people are returned to Afghanistan against their will every day.

Harun, a resident of Nimroz who returned from Iran in the last month, says: “Me and my mother were alone in Iran. I used to work, they were arresting people, bringing them to the camp, they took money from us separately at every place I reached. No matter how hard we worked, the Iranians took it from us. I am currently unemployed.”

It should be noted that yesterday, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported that more than 24,000 Afghan refugees were returned to Afghanistan in the last 10 days.

However, the immigrants who are still struggling to work on the other side of the border also complain about the strictness of this government and call their situation worrisome.

Mahmoud, one of the Afghan immigrants who lives in Iran illegally and is engaged in hard work, says that recently the room rents and the prices of goods for the immigrants have been increased and their deportation has intensified. “In Iran, a few days ago, one of their government representatives announced that we should make the situation difficult for the Afghans, that they might even leave, and that their house rent should be increased. These problems are many, the house rent is three million, the Afghans pay five million, those who work do not pay their wages on time.”

Meanwhile, Abdullah Qayoumi, the head of refugee affairs at Islam Qala border crossing in Herat, told Salam Watandar that daily, 2,000 to 2,500 people return to Afghanistan through this crossing. He adds: “The number of deported people is surging. Some 2000 to 2300 are deported daily. Two weeks ago, 20,000 people were deported in one week, now 10,000 tons are coming every week.”

IRNA news agency also reported that in the last six months, 328,000 Afghan immigrants who did not have residency documents were deported from Iran.