Fatemiyoun’s return to Afghanistan

Anchor: With the 8-year war in Syria getting closer to the end, tens of thousands of Afghans who were trained and recruited by Iran to take part in Syrian war in defense of Bashar Assad, will now go back to their country, Afghanistan. Afghans recruited by Islamic Republic are mainly from poor, Shia regions, who were taken to Syria with the promise of huge amount of money.

Reporter: To save Bashar Assad and advancing its own destructive goals, Iran has created an extensive network of Shia paramilitary forces in the region – paramilitary forces not merely from Afghanistan, but from Pakistan, Iraq, and Lebanon. Now the question is: What will Tehran do with these trained paramilitary forces? Those who return from Syria will face many threats. Security forces will consider them as traitors. They might be arrested. Or they might be attacked by ISIS wing in Afghanistan who believe Shias are apostates and deserve to die. In ISIS suicide attack in a Shia mosque in Herat, 38 people were killed. One of the residents of a village close to Herat says that even knowing someone who has fought in Syria might end in getting arrested. 8 people from his village were killed in Syria; their burial places, however, are not in Afghanistan, but in Iran.

–I saw Afghan troops being crushed under tanks, just like ants; the bodies were scattered everywhere.

Reporter: Tehran has deployed hundreds of IRGC forces to Syria, and started deploying paramilitary forces there as well. But most of these forces are Afghans and are called Fatemiyoun Division. Experts estimate that they are more than 500,000 people.

–Those who are deployed there are paid as much as a worker who works in Iran. If someone gets martyred there, he will be buried in a special ceremony, in the presence of a Quran reciter, friends, and all his families – an honorable burial ceremony.

Reporter: Reza Kazemi, a researcher from a group called Afghanistan Analysts, says that the reasons why most of them join Fatemiyoun Division is because they are poor and desperate, not loyal to Iran.

–Most of these people do not see a future for themselves. Most of them have abandoned their studies and cannot find jobs in Afghanistan. But in Iran, they are motivated to go to Syria.

Reporter: In Al Nusra Front, there were Syrians, Iraqis, Chechens, Uzbeks, and jihadists from other countries. In the other side, forces from Syrian government, paramilitary forces from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanese Hezbollah – covered by Russian warplanes – were fighting for Assad.