The Iranian provinces of South Khorasan, Sistan and Baluchistan and Razavi Khorasan have been ordered by Iranian officials to turn back fleeing Afghans on the border.
The move was announced Hossein Ghasemi, the Interior Ministry’s Director General of Border Affairs. He told the Iranian judiciary’s official news agency Mizan it was a health measure: “Because of the coronavirus pandemic, border crossings between Iran and Afghanistan are strictly controlled.”
Ghasemi added that Iran’s border forces had been mobilized to stop any Afghan nationals from entering Iran. He also criticized international organizations, calling on them to pay better attention to the consequences of the Afghanistan takeover for neighboring countries.
The Taliban’s rapid return to nationwide hegemony, the fall of the government and chaos and panic in Afghan cities have prompted thousands to try to escape the country. The long border with Iran has always been a principal gateway for Afghan refugees, regardless of their destination.