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Afghanistan Pleased Iranian Plan to Expel Migrant Afghans Halted


The Afghan government is welcoming a decision by Iran to temporarily halt plans to expel more than one million undocumented Afghan refugees.

The Iranian government reversed itself following a lobbying campaign by Afghan officials, who said the expulsions would create a humanitarian disaster if carried out during the current harsh winter.

On Wednesday, President Amedinejad authorized a halt to the forced expulsions on humanitarian grounds and in the interests of relations between the two countries.

Iran says it hopes the Afghan government will take the opportunity to put facilities in place to accommodate the refugees once the evictions begin again. Iran began the expulsions last week, deporting more than 200 Afghan men.

Millions of Afghans fled to Iran after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan almost 30 years ago and the ensuing fighting among Afghan factions. Iran says the immigrants are a strain on its economy.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.