Middle East Observer – Afghanistan’s foreign ministry has demanded the host countries of the country’s refugees to prevent forcing them under threat to go for fighting in Syria.
The ministry spokesman has confirmed receiving the letter and the presence of Afghan refugees in Syria to fight with Assad regime.
“It is completely clear that Afghan citizens are sent to Syria for fighting,” said Shekib Mustaghni.
Syrian opposition in an official letter urged the Afghan government to prevent involving its citizens in Syria’s fighting.
According to Human’s Rights Watch, Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has recruited thousands of undocumented Afghans living there to fight in Syria since at least November 2013.
Human Rights Watch in late 2015 interviewed more than two dozen Afghans who had lived in Iran about recruitment by Iranian officials of Afghans to fight in Syria.
Some said they or their relatives had been coerced to fight in Syria and either had later fled and reached Greece, or had been deported to Afghanistan for refusing.
Iran has always claimed it is participating in an advisory capacity in Syria, dispatching senior commanders to plan and oversee operations, but the Afghan involvement shows it is using other methods.
Recruitment is taking place on a daily basis in Mashhad and Qom, two Iranian cities with the largest population of Afghan refugees. Mashhad, the second most populous city in Iran, is only three hours’ drive from the country’s border with Afghanistan.
Most Iran-based Afghans, who are also Shia, are not going to Syria to risk their lives on religious grounds but because of the financial and stability benefits that their involvement will bring to them and their families.
Nearly 1 million Afghans are registered as refugees in Iran but the country is believed to host at least 2 million more who are living illegally.