At least 1 killed, 4 wounded in protest at Iran consulate in Afghanistan: Police

HERAT, Afghanistan (AFP) - At least one person was killed and four wounded on Saturday when angry demonstrators tried to storm the Iranian consulate in western Afghanistan during a protest over visas, officials said.

Around 200 protestors took to the streets of Herat city and tried to attack the consulate with rocks and sticks, deputy provincial police chief Abdul Hamid Hamidi told AFP.

"The police tried to stop them, but they attacked the police. One person was killed and several wounded in the clash," he said, adding that the police were investigating.

An official at Herat central hospital told AFP that four wounded people had been admitted.

Mr Abdul Rashid, a wounded demonstrator, told AFP that they were protesting because the Iranian consulate would not extend their Iranian visas nor return their cash deposit.

He said Afghans who applied for an Iranian visa had to deposit at least US$400 (S$512) with the consulate.

Thousands of Afghans cross illegally into Iran every year to seek work as Afghanistan's economy struggles to grow amid an Islamist insurgency that erupted after the 2001 fall of the Taleban.

In May, Iranian guards shot dead 10 Afghan migrants illegally trying to cross the border from the western province of Herat.

About 2.4 million Afghans - refugees and illegal immigrants - live in Iran, many of whom moved there after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

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