Kabul, Apr 12 (EFE).- Hundreds of Afghans on Tuesday protested on the streets of Kabul against the reported attacks against refugees from the country in neighboring Iran by citizens and security forces, with videos appearing to show such incidents doing the rounds on social media.
“Today, more than 500 members of the civil society of Afghanistan come together to condemn the oppression and torturing of Afghan migrants by the people and the security memberzs of Iran,” Zaheer Khan Zurmati, the protest’s organizer and president of the civil societies and civil associations center of Afghanistan, told EFE.
The protesters were carrying placards and chanting slogans such as “Stop killing Afghans,” “Afghan lives matter and we want justice,” and “Iranians! Please stop oppressing Afghans.”
The protest comes after videos appeared on the social media last week purportedly showing several people, including alleged officers of the Iranian security forces, beating up Afghan refugees.
The incident is thought to be retaliation for the assassination of an Iranian cleric in a knife attack at a shrine on the same day, although the killing has been attributed to a person who is not linked to Afghanistan.
After Tuesday’s protests in Kabul and a similar demonstration in the western city of Herat a day earlier – in which dozens shouted “Death to Iran” in front of Tehran’s consulate and pelted stones – the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement that its embassy in Afghanistan was shutting down consular services until further notice.
On Sunday, the Taliban’s interim foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met the Iranian ambassador in Afghanistan, Bahadur Aminian, to express concern over the attacks on Afghan refugees in Iran.
Muttaqi insisted that Iran should instruct its security forces to not mistreat the Afghan refugees in areas close to the bilateral border and help prevent ties from deteriorating.
Aminian had earlier told an Afghan TV channel that the attackers that appear in the video belong to groups that want to disrupt good ties between Kabul and Tehran.
Iran shares a porous border with Afghanistan and is home to around three million Afghan refugees who have fled conflict and poverty over many decades.
Since the Taliban seized power in August, around 4,000-5,00 Afghan refugee have been arriving in Iran every day, according to data collected by nonprofit Norwegian Refugee Council. EFE