Hundreds of Afghans who are seeking to cross the border to Iran have become stranded at Islam Qala port in the western province of Herat as Iran has recently closed its borders, citing the outbreak of the new Covid-19 variant.
Those stranded at the port with Iran have visas for which they have paid a large amount of money, they said.
“We have visas, but they still don’t allow us across. They (Iranian border forces) treat us like illegal people. I am shaking because of the cold weather but I am still waiting for their positive response,” said Shoib Omarzada, a resident of Kapisa province who came to Islam Qala to cross the border to Iran.
“There is no food and the weather is cold as well. We went to the border but Iran says it is closed. I have spent 30,000 Afs and I have waited four nights here,” said Juma Gul Rahmani, a resident of Herat province.
“Iran should admit those who have visas and spent money on traveling documents,” said Humayoun Hemat, deputy commissioner of Islam Qala.
The Islamic Emirate officials said that they have discussed the issue with the Iranian officials.
“The decision to close the border was not made by the Iran consulate it was made by the Iran foreign ministry in coordination with Iran's health ministry. We have talked to the foreign ministry (of Iran) to reopen the gate for the people who reached the border,” said Sher Ahmad Mahajar, a local official of the department of foreign relations in Herat.
Earlier, Iran’s consulate in Herat in a statement said that based on the decision made by the Iranian government, the borders with Afghanistan would be closed to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak.