Afghanistan: March 16, 2000
Iran says it will stop it's program of forcing Afghan refugees in Iran to return home. There are some 1.4 million Afghans in eastern Iran and they have proved to be an expensive and troublesome group to deal with. This year, Iran attempted to force refugees back into Afghanistan, but encountered physical resistance from the refugees and bad press from the world media. Iran's biggest complaint is the crime and drug dealing that many Afghans engage in, using the refugee population to set up drug smuggling operations. Hundreds of Iranian police and troops have been killed or wounded in encounters with the heavily armed smugglers.