Afghanistan says Iranian guards killed 10 migrants

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 12, 2013 at 11:24 am •  Published: May 12, 2013
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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Iranian border guards killed 10 Afghan migrants and wounded another eight when hundreds tried to illegally cross into Iran in search of work, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said Sunday. Iran denied that.

Details of the incident Friday in Afghanistan's northwestern Farah province have been sketchy and often contradictory. An Interior Ministry statement said 300 Afghan laborers tried to cross into Iran illegally, looking for work. Iranian border guards opened fire, killing 10, it said. The ministry also blamed its own border guards for allowing the laborers to cross, though they had neither visas nor passports. Two Afghan border guards were dismissed and could face charges of neglect of duty, the ministry said.

In Tehran, Iran's chief of border guards, Gen. Hamid Sharafi, denied there was any shooting at Afghan migrants, according to Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency.

"Such a report is not right. We do not confirm it based on our investigations," Sharafi said.

Several wounded laborers who arrived at the Farah district hospital for treatment also reported dead compatriots and said as many as 21 laborers were taken away by the Iranian border guards, said Abdul Rahman Zhawandai, a spokesman for the Farah provincial governor.

On Saturday, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasoul called the Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan to lodge a complaint and to seek more details about the incident, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai.

"We are following this issue very seriously through our embassy in Tehran," Mosazai told reporters Sunday. While admitting that the migrants were trying to enter Iran illegally, he said "the reaction of Iran should have been a civilian reaction, not a military" one — a reference to the shooting.