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Afghani Intelligence Arrests Iranian Official for Recruiting Shiite Fighters | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iranian official Qurban Ghalambor

Kabul – Afghanistan Intelligence arrested the Iranian official Qurban Ghalambor for recruiting Shiites to fight on behalf of the Syrian regime, according to a governmental official who preferred to remain anonymous.

Ghalambor is the representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office and Shiite Religious Authority Ali Sistani in Kabul. He was detained for “recruiting Afghan Shiite fighters and sending them to Syria.”

Ten days ago, Ghalambor was arrested at his home in Herat district, close to the Iranian borders, and was transferred to the capital Kabil for further investigations into his activity.

Since Iran started sending forces to Syria to fight alongside Bashar Assad forces, news reported that Tehran was recruiting Shiite fighters from other countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan. A new Shiite brigade emerged under the name of Fatimids composed mainly of Shiite Afghani and Pakistani.

The brigade is under direct supervision from al-Qudus brigade of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Earlier, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the IRGC, admitted there are about 200 thousand fighters affiliated with Iran with around 10 thousand Afghani fighter in Damascus, Syria.

Members of the Afghani Parliament and Senates condemned the arrest of Ghalambor and demanded his immediate release. Protests erupted in Herat as well calling for the immediate release of the representative.

Afghani intelligence didn’t comment on the issue, neither did it release a statement.

U.S-supported Afghani government was under pressures after news reported that Iranian regime is recruiting unemployed Afghanis and training them for combat in Syria and Iraq. The fighters are given a salary of $400-$500 and are promised to receive the Iranian citizenship as well as their families if they continue to fight along with the Syrian regime.

Media reports mentioned a number of Afghani fighters had been killed in Syria and buried in special site in Iran. In addition, videos circulated in the media of Afghani fighters captured by the Free Syrian Army.

Several Afghani parties and political figures demanded the government interfere to prevent any Afghani fighters’ recruitment in Syria.
Information shows that Ghalambor’s arrest is part of a governmental campaign aiming to prevent the use of Afghani men in Iran’s wars in the region.

Syrian factions fighting against regime sent the Afghani government a letter three months ago urging it to stop any Afghani from joining Shiite militias fighting alongside with the Syrian regime.

Afghani political analyst Mir Ahmad Watheeq said that the government should consider the matter which is very serious and dangerous for Afghanistan’s national security. He considers that those fighting with the Syrian regime could present danger once they return to Afghanistan.

About 10% of Afghanistan’s population is of Shiites living in the center and west of the country. Over two million Afghani of Hazaza origins live in Iran since the war in Afghanistan began at the end of the 80’s.