4,000-5,000 Afghans cross into Iran daily: aid group

Between 4,000 and 5,000 Afghans have been crossing into Iran daily since the Taliban seized Kabul in August and hundreds of thousands more are expected to arrive next winter, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said on Wednesday.
The aid group said up to 300,000 Afghans have crossed the border since the Taliban victory and called for more international support for Iran, which is grappling with a deep economic crisis of its own.

“Iran cannot be expected to host so many Afghans with so little support from the international community,” NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland said in a statement. “There must be an immediate increase in aid both within Afghanistan and in neighboring countries like Iran, before the deadly winter cold.”

The shocking victory of the Taliban as the last American troops prepared to leave Afghanistan sparked a mass exodus of officials and others related to the former Western-backed government and other vulnerable Afghans.

The abrupt end of international support and the freezing of Afghan central bank assets abroad has also brought the country to the brink of economic collapse, raising fears of a refugee crisis similar to the 2015 exodus from Syria that rocked Europe. .

Members of the Taliban forces travel in a van with a weapon in Kabul, Afghanistan, on October 3, 2021 (credit: REUTERS / JORGE SILVA).

Iran and Pakistan together host about 90% of the 5 million Afghans displaced outside their country, although not all are counted as refugees.

“We congratulate Iran for welcoming and hosting millions of displaced Afghans over the past four decades. But now the international community must step forward to support Afghanistan’s neighbors,” Egeland said.

UN agencies say that as many as 22.8 million people – more than half of Afghanistan’s 39 million people – face acute food insecurity, up from 14 million just two months ago.


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