Afghan officials on Sunday launched a hunt to retrieve bodies of Afghan migrants from a river in a western province after reports that Iranian border guards tortured and threw Afghans into the river to prevent their entry into Iran.
Afghanistan’s foreign ministry in a statement on Saturday said an inquiry had been launched and a senior official in the presidential palace in Kabul said initial assessments suggested at least 70 Afghans who were trying to enter Iran from bordering Herat province were beaten and pushed into the Harirud river.
The Harirud river basin is shared by Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan.
Internally displaced Afghan family sits inside a tent at a refugee camp in Herat province, Afghanistan. (Reuters)
Doctors at Herat District Hospital said they had received the bodies of Afghan migrants, some of whom had drowned.
“So far, five bodies have been transferred to the hospital, of these bodies, its clear that four died due to drowning,” said Aref Jalali, head of Herat District Hospital.
The Iranian consulate in Herat denied the allegations of torture and subsequent drowning of dozens of Afghan migrant workers by border police.
“Iranian border guards have not arrested any Afghan citizens,” the consulate said in a statement on Saturday.