Public outcry in Afghanistan is growing over an incident in Iran in which three Afghan nationals were burned to death after their vehicle crashed into a guardrail in Yazd province after being reportedly shot at by Iranian police.
Five other passengers were wounded, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed.
Afghan activists started a hashtag “bring me some water I am dying," and called on Afghan and Iranian officials to address the issue.
Other activists criticized a photo shared by Afghan Ambassador Ghafoor Lewal’s office showing him chatting with one of the wounded Afghans who was handcuffed to a bed in an Iranian hospital. The activists called for justice, saying that illegal migrants should not be treated this way.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to complete its investigation into the incident but vowed that the issue will be handled thoroughly.
The ministry confirmed that the vehicle was shot at by Iranian police, citing Iranian officials.
Speaking during the Mehwar show on TOLOnews, Ghafoor Lewal, Afghanistan's ambassador to Tehran, confirmed that the vehicle was fired at by Iranian police.
“The (Iranian) officials admitted that it (the vehicle) was fired at,” the envoy said.
On the same day, Saturday, some Iranian media outlets aired an interview by the Afghan ambassador in which he called for deepening the ties between Kabul and Tehran.
“The cause of the incident is the driver and the human traffickers. Legislative organizations are aware that the driver should be arrested and punished,” Lewal told Iranian media.
Meanwhile, a group of Helmand civil society activists in a protest on Sunday burned an Iranian flag and called for a thorough investigation into the incident.
“Last time, 50 people were martyred and were drowned in the river. Now, they have torched the Afghans' vehicle,” said Abdulhaq Zwakman, a civil society activist in Helmand, referring to an incident at the beginning of May when Afghan migrants crossing into Iran were allegedly detained, tortured and thrown into a river by Iranian police, causing many to drown.
“A teenager (from Afghanistan) was saying ‘I am burning, give me water’ and he was not given water,” said Abdulwali Patial, a civil society activist in Helmand.
Former president Hamid Karzai in a statement called for an investigation into the incident by Tehran and said its result should be shared with Kabul.
Afghan MP Atiq Ramin, who heads the foreign affairs committee of the parliament, said the incident needs proper investigation.
“The drowning of 57 Afghans and the shooting at the vehicle of our dear countrymen who were martyred in Yazd city in Iran should not be ignored,” he said.
“We call on the Afghan government to summon its ambassador because such ‘incapable’ people cannot represent Afghans in other countries,” said Hekmatullah Shahbaz, a university professor.