Afghan migrants in Iran, Pakistan face escalating pressures, lodge complaints against host countries

KABUL/TEHRAN (SW) – Following increased incidents of detention, harassment, and expulsion of Afghan migrants from Iran and Pakistan, several of them residing in these two countries say that pressures have intensified recently.

These Afghan migrants live in fear of daily detention and expulsion, struggling to make ends meet.

Zubair, an Afghan migrant in Iran, works covertly with 18 friends in a factory for minimal wages. He says, “They pay us very little, and if we complain, they don’t pay at all. If we report to the police, we get deported. They don’t give us permits, and if we get sick, they won’t let us go to the hospital. We feel deeply oppressed; they treat us like slaves.”

Hadi Ghafari, another migrant in Pakistan, also complains about increasing pressures on Afghan migrants in that country, stating that they should not be victims of political issues between the two nations. He adds, “These days, the hardships have doubled; Afghan migrants can’t go to the city or buy anything from the market. The UN is very slow in handling their cases.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Repatriations and Refugees (MoRR) reports that nearly 115,000 Afghan citizens have returned from Iran and Pakistan in the past month. Some returnees express dissatisfaction with the lack of job opportunities in Afghanistan and the challenges of life there, urging the de-facto government to provide them with employment opportunities.

Juma Gul, who recently returned from Pakistan, worries about meeting his basic needs after returning. “There are serious economic problems here, and there are no jobs. We live in a rented house. We ask the government to provide us shelter and create job opportunities,” he said.

Ghulam Hazrat, who returned from Iran two months ago, laments, “I had a job, but they fired me and expelled me. I was doing simple work. Now that I’m here, I can’t find any work. Days and nights pass by, and I have nothing to do.”

Simultaneously, Al Jazeera news agency has reported that Pakistan has begun the second round of expulsions of Afghan migrants this solar month, targeting nearly 800,000 Afghan citizens without legal documents.

Pakistan’s initial expulsion phase saw approximately 600,000 Afghan citizens expelled for lacking legal documentation.