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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Afghans recruited by Iran die after US attacked with strikes in military bases at Syria

A small crowd sat in rows of folding chairs, men in the front and women in the back, at the main cemetery in Tehran, the Iranian capital, earlier this month

Farnaz Fassihi New York Published 20.02.24, 06:49 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

It was a memorial for the “martyrs” killed when the US struck military bases in Syria, according to Iranian state television.

A small crowd sat in rows of folding chairs, men in the front and women in the back, at the main cemetery in Tehran, the Iranian capital, earlier this month. Children milled around and a young man passed a box of sweets. A man recited prayers through a microphone.

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But the 12 fallen men weren’t Iranians. They were Afghans, according to other soldiers and local media reports, part of the Fatemiyoun Brigade, a largely overlooked force that dates to the height of the Syrian civil war a decade ago. To help Syrian President Bashar Assad beat back rebel forces and Islamic State group terrorists, Iran at the time began recruiting thousands of Afghan refugees to fight, offering $500 a month, schooling for their children and Iranian residency.

The brigade is about 20,000 strong, drawn from Afghan refugees living mostly in Iran, and it serves under the command of the Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Iranian media affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard and social media platforms dedicated to the Fatemiyoun published the names and photographs of the slain Afghans and said they were killed in US strikes in Iraq and Syria.

New York Times News Service

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