Iranian security forces attack kolbars

Iranian security forces have attacked a group of kolbars in Sistan and Baluchistan province, injuring two of them.

The Iranian regime's violence against kolbars who transport goods across the border on their backs for daily wage continues.

According to Kolbarnews report in its telegram channel, Iranian security forces have opened fire on a group of kolbars in the province of Sistan and Baluchistan in the southeast of the country, in the border area with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Two of the kolbars were injured in the attack and then taken to nearby hospitals by the local people.


According to Kurdistan Human Rights Network (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.

Kolbars often come from the impoverished Kurdish population and are dependent on the dangerous transport of goods such as tea and spices across the borders risking extra-legal executions by Iranian security forces.

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.