Tens of thousands of Afghans recruited by Iran to fight in Syria, are returning back to their homeland, as the 8-year war in Syria came to an end.
Most of the fighters are from Afghanistan's impoverished Shiite communities, who were brought by Iran to create a network of militias to help save their ally President Bashar al-Assad from the uprising against his rule.
Afghan veterans returning from Syria are threatened from multiple sides, as they face arrest by security agencies that view them as traitors.. They also face violence from ISIS in Afghanistan, which consider Shiites as heretics.
As Assad appeared to be losing the fight against rebels in 2013 and 2014, Iran intensified its role in Syria, sending hundreds of Revolutionary Guard troops and allied militias, the most well-known and powerful militia was Lebanon's Hezbollah. However, the largest was the force made up of Afghans, known as the Fatimiyoun Brigade, estimated at up to 15,000 fighters.
As the years passed, tens of thousands of Afghans likely trained and fought in it.
Most of them came from Afghanistan's ethnic Hazara minority, who are among the country's poorest.
According to the Afghan government and experts, Iran could mobilize these ex-fighters once more to assert its influence in Afghanistan, particularly as the US accelerates its efforts to end its nearly 18-year military intervention.