Taliban ask Afghan refugees to stay away from protests in Pakistan, Iran

News Report
Thursday, Nov 24, 2022

KABUL: The Taliban Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation has requested Afghan refugees to refrain from taking part in protests in Pakistan and Iran.

Afghan refugees were urged not to participate in the protests since they were Pakistani and Iranian domestic affairs, according to Abdul Rahman Rashid, the Taliban’s deputy minister for refugees and repatriation.

The Taliban representative said in a video message that was released on November 23 that “the demonstrations are their (Iran and Pakistan’s) domestic affairs, their people are demonstrating, do not ruin your life.”

Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, 22, died while being held by the Iranian morality police for not observing the mandatory hijab, prompting an unprecedented flurry of public protests against the Iranian government. These widespread protests sparked by Amini’s death, are one of the biggest challenges faced by the Iranian government and leadership after the 1979 revolution.

Prior to the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan, 3.4 million Afghan immigrants — nearly two million of them were undocumented — lived in Iran, according to statistics from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). However, UNHCR said that after August of last year when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of Afghans fled to Iran. After Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, was ousted, violent protests by his supporters occurred parallel with protests in Iran.

While the ousted PM of Pakistan sustained a shot in his leg in a protest on November 6, he stated that the protest marches towards Islamabad will resume. Although, the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates that there are now 1.3 million Afghan immigrants living in Pakistan lawfully, it is also believed that hundreds of thousands of Afghan immigrants are also residing there irregularly.