KABUL – Former chairman of Iran’s parliamentary national security and foreign policy committee has raised concerns over the growing number of Afghan refugees in Iran. Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh has said one in five Afghans now live in Iran, with around 10,000 Afghans entering the country daily as illegal immigrants. He noted that these refugees often secure jobs and housing within just two days of arrival, implying a well-organized system facilitating their integration.
Falahatpisheh emphasized that a substantial portion of Afghan refugees in Iran possesses military backgrounds, citing statistics from 2016 indicating that about 1.5 million out of the 7.5 to 8 million Afghans living in Iran have military experience. He warned that this number is likely to have significantly increased in the years since then.
These Afghans are fleeing conflict, violence, natural disasters, and human rights abuses under Taliban rule. Many seek refuge in Iran, while some also head to Iraq and Syria in an attempt to escape dire circumstances and a lack of economic opportunities and social freedoms.
It’s worth noting that Afghan migrants make up the majority of the world’s migrant population, accounting for 65 percent of all migrants worldwide, as per the Iranian Immigration Monitoring Agency. This surge is driven by factors such as the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan and the dire socio-economic conditions prevailing there.
While the influx of Afghan refugees presents challenges for Iran, including security and social issues, the Iranian government’s handling of the situation has been criticized. Falahatpisheh expressed concerns over the lack of accurate statistics regarding the Afghan population in Iran, which results in difficulties providing necessary educational and healthcare services. He also criticized the Iranian government’s inability to monitor Afghan refugees effectively.
Despite the challenges, Falahatpisheh argued that Iranian society should continue to welcome Afghan refugees, emphasizing their contributions to the country’s reconstruction following the Iran-Iraq war. He noted that many of these refugees take on demanding jobs that local Iranian workers are less likely to pursue. However, he cautioned that Iranian authorities must better manage the situation to ensure social, economic, and security stability.