Protests were held around Afghanistan over the recent deaths of Afghan nationals in Iran and for the perceived lack of response by the Afghan government. Protesters called for justice to be done.
The incident occurred on June 5 in Yazd province, Iran, when a car full of Afghan migrants was shot at by Iranian police and then hit a guardrail and ignited, killing three Afghans and wounding four others.
This follows another incident that occurred at the beginning of May in which allegedly dozens of Afghan migrants were detained, tortured and forced to jump into a river that runs along the border between both countries, where many died.
Activists from Herat and Nangarhar in the north and east of the country in separate gatherings said the government’s response to the incident is not supporting people’s rights.
They called on the government to review its policies regarding relations with Tehran.
“Iran is an oppressive country and those who are supporting it are also oppressors,” said Sharifullah Naseri, an activist in Nangarhar.
“Iran does not respect international relations and we should review our relations with Iran,” said Ali Khel Malikzada, an activist in Nangarhar.
In Herat, meanwhile, a group of residents and activists gathered outside the UN office in the province, criticizing the government and the international community’s “silence” toward the issue.
“Our countrymen travel to Iran to earn bread and they are set ablaze there, but our government has remained silent,” said Halima Pajhwok, a civil society activist in Herat.
“This is not the first time. Iran is burning our migrants. Our demand is that they should be put on trial,” said Mohammad, a Herat resident.
But President Ashraf Ghani in a cabinet meeting on Monday called for a thorough investigation of the incident, according to the Presidential Palace.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry’s spokesman Gran Hewad said efforts are underway to trial the perpetrators.
“No legal channel will be spared to legally hold the perpetrators accountable for these incidents, based on documents and evidence,” Hewad said, referring to the Yazd province incident and the border incident in which dozens of Afghans lost their lives when allegedly Iranian border policed tortured them and forced them into a river.
“Afghan citizens should be defended, and their rights should be achieved. We see that our officials have not defended and have not raised their voice as much as required in the defense of the citizens,” said Lal Gul Lal, head of the Human Rights Organization of Afghanistan, a Kabul-based rights organization.