Iran closed its border to Afghanistan on Wednesday, as thousands of Afghan nationals seek to flee the country following the Taliban’s takeover.
Hossein Qasemi, the director of the Iranian interior ministry’s office for border affairs, told the state-run Mizan news agency that authorities instructed Iran’s three provinces that border Afghanistan to deny Afghan nationals entry into Iran because of recent developments in the country and “coronavirus restrictions,” according to the BBC.
The news comes after Qasemi reportedly said Iran was establishing refugee camps on its border with Afghanistan in the expectation of a surge of people fleeing from the Taliban.
Thousands of Afghan citizens are scrambling to leave the country after the Taliban seized control of the capital city of Kabul this weekend, effectively toppling the government and unleashing chaos in the region.
The U.S. has thus far evacuated more than 3,200 people from Afghanistan, 1,100 of whom were removed Tuesday, according to the CNN.
The Taliban has vowed to rule peacefully in Afghanistan, but many are still skeptical of how the insurgent group will govern in the region, especially when it comes to women.
Hundreds of Afghan service members have fled to Uzbekistan on dozens of U.S.-supplied planes and helicopters since the weekend.
The Pentagon on Tuesday said it is aiming to have one flight leave from Kabul per hour within the next day, which would allow the military to extract between 5,000 and 9,000 people from Afghanistan a day.