Afghan official blasted for thanking Iran for recruiting Afghan fighters for Syria

nsnbc : Deputy Afghan Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq has come under fire after a video transpired in which he, during a conference in Iran, thanked Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani, who commands foreign operations of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, for recruiting Afghan fighters for the so-called Fatemiyoun Division, and their deployment in Syria.

Afghanistan_Deputy Afghan Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq_Nov 2017_(archives)Deputy Afghan Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq made his controversial statement during a trip to Tehran last week. Mohaqiq was addressing an international summit of scholars from Iran and Muslim nations. The top Afghan official would probably have attenuated his statement had he known that his address was being recorded or that the video would be published in social media and cause heated debate and demands that be removed from office.

The video shows Mohaqiq praising Iranian major General Qasem Soleimani, who commands foreign operations of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The gathering in the Iranian capital was convened to discuss ways to fight “the dark ideology” of the so-called Islamic State terrorists from a unified Islamic front, according to Iranian media.

Mohaqiq’s statement was the first incident in which an Afghan official seemed to confirm the link between the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards, Major General Qasem Soleimani, the Fatemiyoun division and the recruitment of Afghan fighters including underage fighters for deployment to Syria. Major General Qasem Soleimani is said to be one of the founders of the Fatemiyoun Division, made up of mostly Afghan fighters and deployed to the Syrian conflict zone. In his address, Mohaqiq said:

“I thank all the warriors who cooperated in these wars from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of the world who attended the wars. In fact, it was the war of Islam against infidelity and against the conspiracies of the world arrogance.”

The presence of proxies, including Iranian has long been known and published, among others by Pakistani Major (r( Agha H. Amin Map plottings, Major (r) Agha Humayum Amin

The presence of proxies, including Iranian has long been known and published, among others by Pakistani Major (r( Agha H. Amin Map plottings, Major (r) Agha Humayum Amin

The Afghan Deputy Chief Executive praised Soleimani for his prominent role in Syria. He also claimed that more than 10,000 Islamic State (Daesh) members who escaped the conflict, including those from Central Asian states, had now moved to Afghanistan where they are threatening stability of northern and northwestern provinces.

It should be noted that there over the past year, also has been a marked increase in incidents involving cooperation between Taliban and Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard operatives in north and northwestern Afghanistan. Moaqiq noted:

“The northern part of Afghanistan, once a secure area, has now been destabilized after the incursion of Daesh”. He warned that the instability will threaten neighboring Central Asian nations.

The Afghan government has not yet commented on Mohaqiq’s remarks, but the foreign ministry has maintained that reports of Afghans being sent to conflict zones in the Middle East are under investigation and that the issue has also been raised with Iranian authorities.

Human rights organizations have repeatedly voiced concerns over Tahran’s training and deployment of Afghan “refugees” in Iran including underage boys.

Human Rights Watch in a detailed report published last month, accused Iran of committing war crimes by recruiting and sending Afghan immigrant children “as young as 14″ to fight in Syria alongside government forces.

Afghan refugees

Afghan refugees

The report charged Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps with recruiting and providing combat training to mainly Shi’ite Hazara Afghans who have settled in Iran after fleeing decades of hostilities in their native country.

Recruits for Fatemiyoun Division are reportedly to come mostly from about 2.5 million Afghan refugees, many of them without residency papers. Pro-government Iranian media describes the division as a volunteer Afghan force fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Rights groups have documented cases of Afghans, mostly Shi’ite Hazaras, in Iran who “volunteered” to take part in the Syrian conflict in the hopes of gaining legal status and a monthly income of around $600 for their impoverished refugee families.

Iran has over the course of the last year increased the number of Afghan refugees who were sent back, often to conflict and or abject poverty.

In 2017 the Iranian government forced nearly 130,000 undocumented Afghan refugees to return this year and aims at returning about 600,000 by the end of 2017. Iranian authorities reportedly tell Afghan “recruits” they are being trained to fight to protect major Shi’ite shrines in Damascus, Aleppo and Raqqa, which for many “refugees” is a lesser evil than being returned to Afghanistan, in many cases in violation of international and humanitarian law.

CH/L – nsnbc 26.11.2017

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