Iran’s IRGC Recruits Afghan Refugees as “Cannon Fodder”


Iran’s IRGC Recruits Afghan Refugees as “Cannon Fodder”
  1. Iran’s IRGC Recruits Afghan Refugees as “Cannon Fodder”
    stopfundamentalism.com
    On the front lines of Syria’s six-year war are thousands of Afghan Shi’a sent by Iran to fight against armed rebels. Some of them are poorly trained, made up of mainly Afghan migrants and refugees known as the Fatemiyoun Division. Observers say that they have suffered a high rate of attrition, and coffins of fallen soldiers are paraded and buried in Iranian cities almost every wee…
    Iran
Details Published on Monday, 17 July 2017 21:58

On the front lines of Syria’s six-year war are thousands of Afghan Shi’a sent by Iran to fight against armed rebels. Some of them are poorly trained, made up of mainly Afghan migrants and refugees known as the Fatemiyoun Division. Observers say that they have suffered a high rate of attrition, and coffins of fallen soldiers are paraded and buried in Iranian cities almost every week.

Tehran is luring new recruits to Fatemiyoun, by state media have glorified fallen fighters and highlighted their sacrifices by calling them to martyrs and renaming streets in their honor. The group, comprised mainly of Afghan refugees from the Hazara Shi’ite minority who are recruited and trained by Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), is frequently visited by General Qassem Soleimani, the influential head of the IRGC’s elite Quds Force.  In fact, in June, footage aired by Qatar-based television network Al-Jazeera showed Soleimani praying and addressing the Afghan fighters near the Syria-Iraq border.

Iran’s state media reported recently that the Lebanese militant group Hizballah is training Afghan “special forces” in sniper skills, night-vision mounted weapons, and surveillance. The IRGC published photos of the training in June. Hundreds of trainees are said to have been deployed across Syria.

Ali Alfoneh, a nonresident senior fellow at The Atlantic Council in Washington and a leading IRGC expert, told RFE/RL, “In reality, there is absolutely no hard evidence of [the] existence of such skills among the Fatemiyoun fighters, this is a myth carefully nurtured by the IRGC to boost the prestige of the brigade.”

Track Persia, a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, said in their article that, “Iranian authorities quietly began deploying armed volunteers, including many Afghans, to complement other Iranian forces advising and fighting alongside Assad’s troops after civil war broke out in Syria in 2011.”

Iran has recruited thousands of Afghan migrants and refugees within its own borders. Estimates by the United Nations put the number of Afghan citizens in Iran at just under 1,000,000, but Tehran puts the figure closer to 3,000,000. Tehran expels many Afghans, and periodically threatens those who remain with mass expulsions. Some reports suggest Afghans are offered financial reward and Iranian residency permits to join the fight in Syria.

According to Track Persia, there is also evidence of Tehran covertly recruiting hundreds of Afghan Shi’a inside Afghanistan. Fifteen percent of Afghanistan’s population are Shi’ite with religious links to Shi’ite-majority Iran.

The IRGC considers the Afghan fighters “cannon fodder,” Alfoneh says, and have little training to face exposure on the battlefield.

Defectors from the Fatemiyoun Division, who reportedly fled to Turkey and Greece alongside Syrian refugees, said In interviews with BBC Persian that they received two or three weeks of IRGC training in Iran prior to deployment in Syria.

Ahmad Shuja, a former Afghanistan researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW), says the Fatemiyoun fighters say they are not deployed in urban areas to keep the peace or safeguard the holy shrines they are purportedly there to protect. “They are always out in the desert, fighting the tough fight, and…

  1. For China’s global ambitions, ‘Iran is at the center of everything’ - NewYork Times

    En.alalam.ir - Iran
    07.25 / 08:25 en.alalam.ir
    When Zuao Ru Lin, a Beijing entrepreneur, first heard about business opportunities in eastern Iran, he was skeptical. But then he bought a map and began to envision the region without any borders, as one enormous market. “Many countries are close by, even Europe,” Mr. Lin, 49, said while driving his white BMW over the highway connecting Tehran to the eastern Iranian city of Mashhad recently. “Iran is at the center of every…
  2. Iran: Trump administration is breaking Iranian law by holding its citizens as prisoners

    En.alalam.ir - Iran
    07.25 / 08:25 en.alalam.ir
    Iran's most senior judge has dismissed demands that his country release a number of U.S. prisoners and, instead, urged the U.S. to free all Iranian citizens under its custody and billions of dollars worth of Iranian assets held up by…
  3. New UAE Documentary Claims Qatar Complicit in 9/11 Attacks

    En.alalam.ir - Iran
    07.25 / 06:24 en.alalam.ir
    Deported camels. Rerouted planes. Just when you thought the Persian Gulf crisis couldn’t get any more absurd, a media outlet linked to the Abu Dhabi ruling family has announced the release of a documentary claiming that Qatar was behind the Sept. 11 terrorist a…
  4. ‘Only way out of terrorism is to abandon instrumental use’

    En.mehrnews.com - Iran
    07.25 / 05:42 en.mehrnews.com
    TEHRAN, Jul. 24 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi, while condemning the terrorist blast in Lahore city of Pakistan, said the only way to get out of terrorism is to abandon instrumental use of t…
  5. Hajj preparations going on without trouble: Iranian official

    En.alalam.ir - Iran
    07.25 / 05:27 en.alalam.ir
    An Iranian official dismissed reports raising public concern about participation of Iranian pilgrims in this year’s Hajj, saying required preparations are being made and the first group of pilgrims will fly to Saudi Arabia on July 3…
  6. US sanctions bolstered Iran-Russia ties

    En.mehrnews.com - Iran
    07.25 / 05:10 en.mehrnews.com
    TEHRAN, Jul. 25 (MNA) – The US sanctions on Iran and Russia have bolstered bilateral cooperation between the two countries despite Washington’s intention, a Russian official said Mon…
  7. Confronting Takfiri groups demands coherent action

    En.mehrnews.com - Iran
    07.25 / 04:59 en.mehrnews.com
    TEHRAN, Jul. 25 (MNA) – Iran’s SNSC head Shamkhani said combatting formation and expansion of terrorist and Takfiri groups required coherent and coordinated action of all neighboring cou…
  8. Turkey's Erdogan ends tour with no sign of Qatar progress

    En.alalam.ir - Iran
    07.25 / 04:24 en.alalam.ir
    Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan left Qatar on Monday after two days in the Persian Gulf trying to mediate in the worst row among Arab states for years but there was no sign he had made any…
  9. A Canadian man found guilty of having 25 wives - AP

    En.alalam.ir - Iran
    07.25 / 04:24 en.alalam.ir
    Two former leaders of an isolated polygamous community in Canada were convicted Monday of practicing polygamy after a decades-long legal fight, setting up another potential court battle over the constitutionality of Canada's polygamy…
  10. Pres. Rouhani underlines govt.'s full support for IRGC

    En.mehrnews.com - Iran
    07.25 / 04:19 en.mehrnews.com
    TEHRAN, Jul. 25 (MNA) – President Hassan Rouhani emphasized full support of the government for IRGC services in its mission in a meeting with the senior commanders of the Revolutionary Guards C…
  11. Iran: US sanctions on IRGC strategic mistake

    Theiranproject.com - Iran
    07.24 / 22:09 theiranproject.com
    IRNA – Any US Sanctions against the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) would be a strategic mistake, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi warned on Monday. “Our position would be…
  12. Security of Iran, Afghanistan intertwined, inseparable: Shamkhani

    Theiranproject.com - Iran
    07.24 / 22:09 theiranproject.com
    Press TV – A senior Iranian official says the security of the Islamic Republic is “intertwined with and inseparable from” that of Afghanistan, stressing the need for more bilateral consultations and e…
  13. Hajj preparations going on without trouble: Iranian official

    Theiranproject.com - Iran
    07.24 / 22:09 theiranproject.com
    Tasnim – An Iranian official dismissed reports raising public concern about participation of Iranian pilgrims in this year’s Hajj, saying required preparations are being made and the first group of…
  14. Qasemi: Iran serious in confronting occupation of Al-Aqsa mosque

    Theiranproject.com - Iran
    07.24 / 22:09 theiranproject.com
    IRNA — Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said on Monday that Iran has adopted a very clear stance about occupation of Palestine, the crimes and atrocities of the Zionist…
  15. Iran confiscates 30 horses, mules carrying weapons

    Theiranproject.com - Iran
    07.24 / 22:09 theiranproject.com
    AP – Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency is reporting that the country’s border guards have confiscated 30 horses and mules that were carrying weapons and ammunition. The Monday report…
  16. Iran Accuses U.S. of Violating Nuke Deal After White House Imposes Missile-Related Sanctions

    Thetower.org - Iran
    07.24 / 22:06 thetower.org
    A senior Iranian official accused the United States on Saturday of violating the 2015 nuclear deal by sanctioning the Islamic Republic over its illicit ballistic missile program. “Undoubtedly, the U.S. breach of the [nuclear deal] won’t go unanswered,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s state-owned PressTV reported. Iran is bringing a [̷…
  17. Para archers win title at World Ranking Tournament

    En.mehrnews.com - Iran
    07.24 / 15:06 en.mehrnews.com
    TEHRAN, Jul. 24 (MNA) – Iran’s para archery outfit secured 11 medals in individual and teams sections of Para-Archery World Ranking Tournament to win the title at the international event in Czech Rep…
  18. Afghan Migrant Workers in Iran: Continuing Struggle and Exploitation

    En.radiozamaneh.com - Zamaneh
    07.24 / 11:46 en.radiozamaneh.com
    This short report is based on field observation and research inside Iran and paints the picture of the situation of Afghan migrant workers in…
  19. Jaberi-Ansari, Ammar Hakim meet in Baghdad

    En.mehrnews.com - Iran
    07.24 / 11:36 en.mehrnews.com
    TEHRAN, Jul. 24 (MNA) – Iranian Deputy FM Hossein Jaberi-Ansari held a meeting with Head of the National Iraqi Alliance (NIA) Ammar Hakim on Monday in B…
  20. Qatari websites unblocked in Saudi due to technical glitch

    En.alalam.ir - Iran
    07.24 / 11:21 en.alalam.ir
    Websites and some television channels linked to Qatar were unblocked in Saudi Arabia on Monday morning but the change arose from a technical glitch and the restrictions will be reimposed shortly, a key Saudi royal court adviser…