Kabul: Abdul Rahman Rashid, the Taliban’s Deputy Minister of Refugees, urged Afghan refugees to avoid taking part in demonstrations held in Iran and Pakistan.
The Taliban representative said in a video message that was released on November 23 that “the demonstrations are their (Iran and Pakistan’s) domestic affairs, their people are demonstrating, do not ruin your life,” reported The Khaama Press.
Rashid added that these protests are internal issues of the respective countries and Afghan nationals should not participate in them.
The Taliban’s call to Afghan refugees comes while Iranian citizens have been holding nationwide protests for several weeks across Iran.
Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, 22, died while being held by the Iranian Morality Police for not observing the mandatory hijab, prompting an unprecedented flurry of public protests against the Iranian government.
These widespread protests sparked by Amini’s death, are one of the biggest challenges faced by the Iranian government and leadership after the 1979 revolution.
However, so far, the Iranian government has not spoken about the participation of Afghan immigrants in the demonstrations.
On Tuesday, Iran’s judiciary announced that the government of Iran had arrested 40 foreign citizens in connection with the country’s recent protests. However, it has not revealed more information about the identity of the arrested individuals.
Prior to the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan, 3.4 million Afghan immigrants–nearly two million of them were undocumented–lived in Iran, according to statistics from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), reported Khaama Press.
However, UNHCR said that after August last year when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of Afghans fled to Iran.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is also in turmoil due to political instability, after Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan was ousted. Violent protests by his supporters occurred parallel with protests in Iran, reported Khaama Press.
While the ousted PM of Pakistan sustained a shot in his leg in a protest on November 6, he stated that the protest marches towards Islamabad would resume.
Although the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that there are now 1.3 million Afghan immigrants living in Pakistan lawfully, it is also believed that hundreds of thousands of Afghan immigrants are also residing there irregularly, reported Khaama Press.