Iran Regime Must Stop Recruiting Afghan Refugees for Syria War

Mohammad Asif Seddiqi, deputy head of the Senate said that the government, “should seriously pursue this matter to compel Iran to not use Afghans as a tool and send them for war in other countries.”

MP Abdul Hafeez Mansoor told the news media, “We’ve only condemned it and done nothing to stop it. The government needs to act,” and added that the government “should create jobs so people don’t flee and become tools for others.”

He claimed that MPs are concerned that Iranian recruitment will worsen sectarian and tribal conflict in Afghanistan, and provoke revenge attacks on Afghan Shiites by militants groups such as the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Daesh.

President of the Association for Afghanistan’s Lawmakers, Ajmal Hodmand said that Iran’s recruitment of Afghan refugees, especially teenagers, is contrary to international conventions. He blamed the Afghan government for its inaction, as well. He said, “Among the government’s responsibilities is to protect and defend its nationals at home and abroad, and to stop any country or organization from using its nationals, especially children, as soldiers.”

He said that the government needs to engage in serious talks with Iran to stop its recruitment, and if Tehran does not, Kabul must raise the matter with international institutions such as the UN.

Unofficial accounts suggest that Iran has recruited thousands of Afghan refugees to fight for the Syrian regime, using incentives including citizenship, accommodation and money.

On Sunday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of recruiting Afghan children as young as 14. Recruitment of children under the age of 15 for combat is a war crime under international law. Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW, said, “Iran should immediately end the recruitment of child soldiers and bring back any Afghan children it has sent to fight in Syria.”

Ahmad Shekib Mustaghni, chief Foreign Ministry spokesman, said on Monday that the Afghan government “confirms that unfortunately some Afghan refugees… are encouraged (by host countries, including Iran) to take part in activities that are against international principles.” He added that Kabul had raised its concern with Tehran, but was told that the refugees are “voluntarily” going to fight.