ISLAMABAD: While Afghanistan points fingers at Pakistan for expelling illegal immigrants, its failure to address Iran’s deportation of Afghans reveals a concerning level of selective criticism within the narrative.
At least 450,000 refugees, mostly Afghans have been repatriated from Iran since August 2023 while Taliban leader Mullah Baradar expressed gratitude to Iran for hosting Afghan refugees.
According to reports the deported Afghan refugees had illegally entered Iran and their repatriation is being carried out in eight provinces through a comprehensive plan.
Iranian authorities have often criticized about the lack of international support for Afghan refugees living in Iran for the past 40 years.
A delegation of the interim Afghan government visited Tehran earlier this month amid the repatriation of Afghan refugees.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in his meeting with the visiting delegation, said the issue related to refugees, it is important for both sides to tactfully deal with it.
This is highly hypocritical behavior on Afghanistan side that on one hand they have been criticizing Pakistan for expelling illegal immigrants but on the other they are expressing gratitude to Iran for hosting them, even after Iran deported a significant number of Afghans.
Afghan interim government pursuing policy of double standards
The attitude of Afghanistan’s interim government raises questions about their dual standards.
The hypocrisy is evident as Afghanistan, its diaspora, and global Human Rights organizations seem to turn a blind eye to the contradictions in their response—criticizing one country’s actions while overlooking the other.
The apparent double standards displayed by Afghanistan in condemning Pakistan’s actions while expressing gratitude to Iran despite its mass deportations is an effort to signal to Pakistan that Afghanistan has other sympathizers too, totally ignoring Pakistan’s good will of decades.
The dual policy adopted by Taliban representatives regarding deportation of illegal Afghan immigrants by Pakistan and Iran indicates a lack of any principled stance by Afghan authorities.
Deported by Tehran are mostly non-Pashtun Afghans. Does it mean that Taliban authorities consider Tajiks or Hazaras lesser humans and are their miseries less concerning for them?
Reputedly Afghans leaving Pakistan are sleeping in the open, without proper shelter, food, drinking water and toilets once they cross the border to their country.
Pakistan had set November 1 as a deadline for illegal Afghans to leave the country otherwise strict action would be taken against them. Nearly one million people came under the illegal foreigner’s repatriation plan.
Taliban interim government has insufficient infrastructure for receiving and accommodating returnees. There is a lack of housing, food and basic services in Afghanistan to support the repatriation.
Reportedly, Afghan officials have taken cash and mobile phones from the relatives of returning Afghan nationals while mistreatment with women has also been reported.
Pakistan has been hosting a large number of Afghan refugees since the 1979 Soviet war. According to the UN Human Rights Office, more than 2 million undocumented Afghans were residing in Pakistan, including at least 600,000 who fled the country after the Taliban came into power in August 2021.