Iran General NewsAfghanistan asks Iran not to force out Afghan refugees

Afghanistan asks Iran not to force out Afghan refugees

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AFP: Afghanistan Sunday called on neighbouring Iran to stop repatriating tens of thousands of Afghan refugees, saying the destitute country could not afford to resettle them. KABUL, April 29, 2007 (AFP) – Afghanistan Sunday called on neighbouring Iran to stop repatriating tens of thousands of Afghan refugees, saying the destitute country could not afford to resettle them.

More than 25,000 Afghans have been sent back by Iranian authorities since April 21, and more are being forced out, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“We would like to ask Iran to not repatriate Afghan refugees. Our capacity is very limited to receive a big number of refugees,” foreign ministry spokesman Sultan Ahmad Baheen said.

“Taking into consideration our good relations with Iran and international laws for refugees, we expect the Iranian government not to force out refugees in big numbers. It would create lots of problems for us here,” Baheen said.

A UNHCR official on condition of anonymity said Iran had decided to repatriate some half a million Afghans living as refugees in the Islamic republic.

Two million Afghans, more than half of them unregistered, are living in Iran while another two million are in Pakistan, having fled during the decades of conflict in their troubled homeland.

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