More than 400,000 Afghans have returned to their home country from neighboring Iran in the first six months of the year, the United Nations' International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced on July 28.
Iran has deported a high number of Afghans in recent weeks, the agency said in a report, but the exact reason for the deportations was not mentioned.
Iran has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, striking a blow to the country's already beleaguered economy. The president recently said as many as 25 million Iranians may have been infected with COVID-19.
In total, 404,868 undocumented Afghans returned from Iran since January 1, either voluntarily or through deportation. The Afghans reportedly did not have the official documentation needed to reside or work in Iran.
The flow of Afghans returning from Iran has increased since 2018, when the sanctions-hit country began suffering from an economic crisis and subsequently decreased demand for Afghan labor.
Afghanistan suffers from high unemployment, a weak economy, and a precarious security situation, all of which have driven the migration to neighboring countries and the rest of the world.
IOM said that 1,933 others also returned from Pakistan.