Migration and displacement are an integral part of life in Afghanistan. Young people often choose to migrate due to a lack of job opportunities, the prevalence of poverty, financial difficulties, and unfavorable social customs. Since the 1970s, thousands of Afghan refugees have been living in Iran, either legally or illegally, due to its close proximity to Afghanistan. Many former soldiers and young people were compelled to migrate to Iran illegally during the Taliban regime and due to the economic hardships, political instability, and threats to their safety. However, both Iran and Turkey do not provide immunity to Afghan workers, most of whom are either injured or killed while attempting to enter Iran or travel from Iran to Turkey. In addition to the risks associated with crossing the border, car accidents, falling from high buildings, and punishment from the government, Afghan citizens face numerous difficulties in Iran.
According to the findings of Hasht–e–Subh, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Afghan citizens killed in Iran and Turkey. Hasht–e–Subh was informed that the corpses of Afghans who died or were killed in Iran are transported across Afghanistan‘s border with Iran each month; in February alone, 200 bodies were transported to Afghanistan.
According to anonymous sources in Nimroz Province, 55 Afghan immigrants who were killed in Iran during the month of February had their bodies transported from the Abresham Bridge border to Nimroz Province. It was reported that some of these individuals had been shot in the head, while others had been killed by the Iranian government. Furthermore, an anonymous Taliban member stated that some of these people had died due to falling from buildings or car accidents.
In February 2023, only 200 bodies were transported to Afghanistan from two border crossings. However, according to sources in Islam–Qala, the border between Iran and Afghanistan, 130 bodies were delivered to Afghanistan the previous month. Additionally, the guards on the Islam–Qala crossing reported that they typically receive more than 150 Afghan bodies from Iran each month.
The Taliban‘s governance, increasing poverty, security risks, and joblessness have all been factors in the majority of the recent illegal migration from Afghanistan to Iran. Sources who spoke to Hasht–e–Subh reported that Iranian border guards killed at least 11 Afghan citizens in the Sistan and Baluchistan provinces of Iran.
Kalimullah, a resident of Nimroz province, informed Hasht–e–Subh that poverty and unemployment were the motivating factors behind the decision of these young people to attempt to illegally enter Iran, resulting in their deaths. He went on to explain that they had originally intended to cross the border into Iran through the Kang area, but due to the great distance, they had to travel through Pakistan instead. Upon their arrival at the Sarawan village in Sistan and Baluchistan, they were met with gunfire from Iranian border guards, leading to their demise.
According to sources in Nimroz province, the bodies of those killed, all under the age of 35, were transported across the Abrisham Bridge border to Nimroz on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
Afghan youths have been killed for a variety of reasons, not just for attempting to migrate illegally to Iran. According to Hasht–e–Subh, a large number of Afghan refugees were killed by the Iranian government and their bodies were transported back to Afghanistan when the Iranian protests began last year.
Ahmad Shoaib Haidar, a third–year student at Ghalib Private University‘s School of Dentistry and a free–fighter, was compelled to flee Afghanistan to Iran due to the Taliban‘s threats against him for his role as a trainer of the former National Army Forces during the former republic regime in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, his journey to Iran concluded tragically and irreversibly. According to a friend of Haidar, he was passionate about sports and had a deep love for Afghanistan, but the dire circumstances under the rule of the Taliban forced him to leave his native province of Herat.
Ahmad Shoaib Haider‘s friend and classmate stated that Shoaib was one of the few people they had ever encountered. He was passionate and devoted to athletics, and excelled in his undergraduate studies. As security threats had increased in recent days, Shoaib felt threatened and had to leave the country. His classmate quoted him as saying, “Being imprisoned by the Taliban would be fatal. They are merciless; they torture people instead of killing them. I must go; I cannot take the chance.”
Ahmad Shoaib attempted to escape the Taliban and find safety, but his luck ran out: on November 5, 2022, he was shot and killed by the Iranian army. His death was announced on November 10th, and his body was sent to Herat on November 16th. He was the eldest son of his family and had recently become engaged.
A family member of Haidar informed Hasht–e–Subh that Ahmad Shoaib Haidari had been unlawfully killed by the Iranian police in Mashhad. His death was kept hidden for more than a week before his body was returned from Iran, having undergone an examination with all of his bodily parts, including his skull, removed. This made the family‘s mourning even more intense. Even though he was killed a few months ago, the family still feels as if it happened today when they walk inside their home. It is wished that they lived in a country with a legitimate and honest administration, so that the youth would not have to flee to Iran and suffer such terrible mistreatment.