In a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Tehran, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian praised the agency’s assistance but described it as “woefully insufficient” given the wave of displaced Afghans heading toward neighboring countries.
“The wave of Afghan refugees heading toward neighboring borders is increasingly high and the volume of international aid is very small,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
He called on the UNHCR to play a more active role inside Afghanistan and help reduce the inflow of refugees through aid efforts.
The chief Iranian diplomat proposed that the UNHCR and the UN chief put on the agenda an international conference on fundraising for the Afghan people.
Iran cannot always be expected to help the Afghans and the European countries must do their part in this regard as the presence of thousands of refugees on their borders is turning into a crisis, he stated.
“Iran does not have the capacity to provide services more than the current level to new asylum seekers, and the international community must pay special attention to the living conditions of the Afghan people,” Amir-Abdollahian added.
He also said that more than 520,000 foreign students are studying for free in Iran and that the vaccination drive in the country has included Afghan refugees like the Iranian citizens.
Grandi, for his part, praised Iran’s extensive efforts to help new Afghan refugees.
He also hailed as a humanitarian and important measure the vaccination of a high percentage of Afghans in Iran and the resettlement of new refugees entering the Iranian border on a daily basis.
He further said the idea of holding an international summit to raise funds for the Afghan people was significant.
The US military led the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 in what it proclaimed was a war on terror meant to eradicate the Taliban.
Twenty years on, in mid-August this year, the Afghan government and military collapsed in the face of the Taliban’s swift advances on the ground, which many attribute to the hasty withdrawal of US-led occupation forces from the country.
Since then, Washington and its allies have imposed sanctions on Afghanistan and deprived its people of any aid and assistance on the pretext of pressuring the Taliban.
Human rights activists maintain that economic sanctions generally do not punish the rulers, but rather, hurt the population, lead to mass starvation, and fuel extremism in the targeted country.
Around 300,000 Afghan migrants have entered Iran following the collapse of the Kabul government and the Taliban’s takeover, at a time when the Iranian nation is facing unilateral US sanctions and the international humanitarian bodies are keeping silent on such inhumane bans.