Coronavirus Forces Afghans to Leave Iran

An Associated Press report says at least 200,000 Afghans living in Iran have been returning home in recent weeks because of Iran’s COVID-19 outbreak.

The account says the Afghan nationals in Iran are exiting “a country that is one of the world’s biggest epicenters of the pandemic to an impoverished homeland that is woefully unprepared to deal with it.”

FILE - Afghans return to Afghanistan at the Islam Qala border with Iran, in the western Herat province, Feb. 20, 2019. Security officials worry that Iranian-backed Afghan veterans of the war in Syria will one day become a secret army for Tehran in Af...
FILE – Afghans return to Afghanistan at the Islam Qala border with Iran, in the western Herat province, Feb. 20, 2019.

The returning Afghans are going back home without being tested for the virus, AP says and will likely “create a greater outbreak in Afghanistan that could overwhelm its health infrastructure.”

Afghan officials say they fear Iran could possibly force as many as a million Afghans out of Iran.

The Intenational Organization of Migration says more than 145,000 Afghans returned home from Iran in March as the virus outbreak surged.

Iran has more than 58,000 coronavirus cases, while Afghanistan has 367, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

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