Tehran, Kabul discuss joint probe into incident surrounding Afghan migrants

May 11, 2020 - 18:24

TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a phone conversation with acting Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar on Sunday discussing the tragic deaths of a number of Afghan migrants near the border.

According to the Afghan Foreign Ministry, the two foreign ministers exchanged views on ways to start “joint investigation” into the incident. 

They also agreed to hold joint sessions if necessary.

Atmar said his government has sent an investigation team to Herat and began studying the incident at the site.

Zarif also assured the Afghan side that Iran will soon form a team to probe the incident at the site. 

The two foreign ministers also agreed that if necessary the investigation teams from the two countries can hold meetings at the site of the incident and cities of Mashhad and Herat. 

Afghan news media have reported that about 50 Afghan migrants crossing into Iran illegally had been beaten and thrown into a river.

Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday that an inquiry had been launched into the tragedy.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has rejected as a “bitter joke” a claim by the United States that Iranian guards were involved in the tragic deaths of Afghan migrants near the border.

“Iran has strong ties with Afghanistan & leads the way to help Afghan leaders for inclusive Gvt. What happened to Afghan nationals in Herat is tragic & unrelated to Iran, but U.S. regime’s allegation against Iran is a ‘bitter joke’,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement published via Twitter on May 5.

“The (US) regime is a war criminal in Afghanistan & state sponsor of terrorism across the world,” the statement added.

According to Tasnim, the Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman has said the Iranian Foreign Ministry was to submit a letter to the country’s embassy in Tehran on Wednesday proposing joint investigation.

According to Tasnim, Iran spends eight billion dollars on Afghan migrants every year in various sectors.

Based on the latest official figures, 951,142 Afghan refugees reside in Iran. In addition to the refugees, there are around 2.5 million Afghan nationals living in Iran, inclusive of passport holders and undocumented Afghans.

The UN refugee agency has, on numerous occasions, praised Iran for hosting Afghan refugees for more than four decades.



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