From East to West of Afghanistan; The Status of Afghan Returnees in Herat and Nangarhar Provinces

These days, the increase in the number of coronavirus infection in neighboring countries has led to the return of refugees to Afghanistan.

The return of immigrants from Iran through the Islam Qala border has endangered the health of citizens in the provinces of Nimroz and Herat.

This comes as the immigrants from Pakistan also return to Afghanistan. The influx of migrants to the Torkham crossing point and the congestion of cargo trucks transporting trading supplies from Pakistan to Afghanistan have also blocked the border.

Torkham border in eastern Afghanistan

The eastern border of the country is secluded these days because the Pakistani government has closed its borders with Afghanistan.  As a result, the cargo trucks were stopped across the border and Afghan citizens traveling to the country for treatment were also stuck there.

Protesting the blockade of the Torkham, they demand the government to open the border so they can return their homes.

According to them, those who died were due to the disease, not the coronavirus. However, no action has been taken by the Afghan and Pakistani governments so far.

Islam Qala Border in Western Afghanistan

Afghanistan has two official borders with Iran from the west, one in Herat called Islam Qala and the other in Nimroz.  Although immigrants have been entering the country from Nimroz, but the Islam Qala border is one of the busiest in the west of the country.

With the widespread spread of the coronavirus in Iran, Afghan immigrants have fled to Afghanistan, and the unprecedented return of these immigrants to the government in the west of the country poses serious challenges. Although some of these migrants have been deported, but many of them voluntarily return to Afghanistan.

Abdul Basit Ansari, a spokesman for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, told Reporterly, “The average daily entry of migrants from the western border is now 12,000. Most of them enter Afghanistan through Herat province and the average number of returnees from Nimroz is around 4 to 5 thousand people daily. “

Prevention of Coronavirus in Islam Qala Border

Although no serious measures have been taken to prevent coronavirus on Torkham border. But the measures are intensifying at the Islam Qala border every day. As the health teams have been deployed to both Herat and Nimroz provinces and all migrants are tested.

A refugee camp was scheduled to be set up at the Herat border, but a spokesman for the Ministry of Immigration says the decision has not been implemented so far, because if the refugees were quarantined, they would be kept together to further increase the number of people infected with the Corona virus.

Zackaria Noori contributed reporting.

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