Attack by Iranian forces kills a kolbar, injures nine others

In an attack by Iranian security forces on kolbars on the Iranian border between Eastern and Southern Kurdistan, one kolbar was killed and nine others were injured.

On Sunday, Iranian security forces have again attacked a group of kolbars in the surroundings of the Eastern Kurdish city Kirmashan. According to information from Kolbernews, 24-year-old kolbar Ehmed Sehraiyî from the village Dişeî was killed in the attack while nine more of them were injured. Among the survivors are also seriously injured.

According to Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), two Kurdish kolbars died and 12 others were injured in January 2020 alone.

According to KHRN statistics, 79 Kurdish kolbars were killed and another 165 were injured by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s military forces, or due to natural disasters along the Kolbari routes in 2019.

The tragedy of kolbars

Eastern Kurdistan has descended deeper into poverty through the years due to deliberate policies by the Iranian regime and stands out as one of the poorest regions in Iran. Compared to other regions, the area has seen significantly less investment and development has been deliberately curbed. Agriculture and industry weren’t allowed to develop, and as a result unemployment rose to highest in Iran.

Faced with policies of discrimination, oppression and impoverishment, carrying smuggled goods is not a choice but a must for survival.

Kolbar comes from the Kurdish words, “kol” (back) and “bar” (load). Kolbars make their living carrying loads along the perilous border line. Their loads include cigarettes, mobile phones, cloths, housewares, tea and seldomly alcohol. They walk through dangerous terrain to continue this trade between Southern and Eastern Kurdistan. The goods they bring are sold at high prices in Tehran, but the kolbars who risk their lives for them are paid very modestly.

The intermediaries who take the deliveries and find buyers in cities are called kasibkars.

Kolbars and kasibkars range from 13 to 70 years old. Some only finished elementary school, while others are university graduates. They carry loads, because they can’t find any other employment. In the last 5 years, some 300 kolbars and kasibkars were killed in cold blood. There are no absolute statistics available for the deaths.