After videos purporting to show Iranian border guards and mobs beating Afghans in Iran circulated on social media at the weekend, dozens of Afghans protested on Monday outside the Iranian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city.
The angry Afghan demonstrators have attacked both Iranian embassy in Kabul and Tehran’s consulate in Herat, according to state-run media.
Neither the images nor the videos could be independently verified.
Iran’s foreign ministry asked that the Afghan charge d’affaires relay a request to the new Taliban rulers to secure the diplomatic outpost in the western city of Herat and to close the consulate until further notice.
“The Iranian embassy and its representatives in Herat and other Afghan cities need full security and assurances of safety,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
Herat protests spread to other cities in Afghanistan.
After the Taliban returned to power in August, Iran became the home of more Afghan refugees. The country, which shares a border with Afghanistan of 900 kilometers, already hosted more than five million Afghan refugees.
Iranian border guards appeared to be beating Afghan refugees in a video clip, and a group of Iranians allegedly dragged and beat refugees in another.
Before dispersing, protesters burned the Iranian flag and damaged CCTV cameras installed at the consulate.
“Death to Iran! Iran is a killer state!” protesters chanted as they gathered outside the Iranian consulate.
“Where are the human rights organisations? They are beating our people … but nobody is raising a voice,” AFP was told by Shakib, an Afghan protester in Herat.
The Iranian embassy in Kabul rejected the accusations of abusing Afghans, calling them “baseless and invalid” and meant to negatively impact relations between the two countries.
Iran’s border forces have the authority to prevent foreigners from illegally entering the country.
In Afghanistan south-eastern city of Khost, an anti-Iran protest was held on Monday, as was a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in Kabul.
Taliban rule has worsened Afghanistan’s economic crisis, forcing even those without ties to the former Western-backed government to seek alternative solutions.
Thousands of people try to cross into neighbouring Iran daily in search of work, or in an effort to reach Europe in the hope of asylum.
Iranian officials have not recognized the Taliban government yet.