This report documents attacks since 2016 by the Taliban and groups affiliated with the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), an affiliate of the Islamic State. While the Taliban claim they do not target civilians, the report documents indiscriminate attacks by the Taliban that have killed and injured thousands. ISKP-linked groups have targeted civilian facilities in urban areas of Afghanistan, including many Shia mosques. The report, based on interviews with 45 civilian victims of insurgent attacks and their relatives, highlights the lasting consequences of the attacks on affected families and communities.
Afghanistan has made strong gains in health outcomes, health service coverage andhealth systems performance since 2003, with a particular impact on women andchildren’s health. All told, Afghanistan has made notable progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets for improving maternal (MDG5) and child health (MDG4). According to United Nations estimates, maternal mortality rates (MMR) declined from 1,100 to 396 deaths per 100,000 live births from 2000 to 2015 (Alkema and others 2016), and under-5 child mortality rates (U5MR) fell 34 percent (from 137 to 91 deaths per 1,000 live births). Newborn mortality rates (NMR) dropped 32 percent (from 53 to 36 deaths per 1,000 live births) (You and others 2016). Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize that in absolute terms there is considerable room for progress.
More than 10,000 civilians lost their lives or suffered injuries during 2017, according to the latest annual UN report documenting the impact of the armed conflict on civilians in Afghanistan. A total of 10,453 civilian casualties – 3,438 people killed and 7,015 injured – were documented in the 2017 Annual Report released today by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office. Although this figure represents a decrease of nine per cent compared with 2016, the report highlights the high number of casualties caused by suicide bombings and other attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Huge numbers of people are returning to Afghanistan – more than two million since 2015 – while the country is still highly fragile, with ongoing fighting and internal displacement in many areas and high levels of poverty. Oxfam’s field research in Herat, Kabul, Kunduz and Nangarhar finds that for as long as these conditions do not improve, a safe and dignified return cannot be guaranteed, and forced returns remain irresponsible. With more people returning on a daily basis, tensions are likely to grow and pressure on scarce resources will increase, exacerbating inequalities in this unstable and fragile country. Sending Afghans back to volatile areas will likely result only in more displacement and fragility.
Displacement has been a feature of Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis for decades, yet a new study by NRC, IDMC and Samuel Hall reveals how intensifying conflict across the country has caused a sharp escalation in the numbers of IDPs across the country.
The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report entitled ‘Afghanistan – security situation’. The report is a third update of the version first published in February 2015 and provides a comprehensive overview of the security situation in Afghanistan, information relevant for the protection status determination of Afghan asylum seekers.
The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published two Country of Origin Information (COI) Reports entitled ‘Individuals targeted by armed actors in the conflict’ and ‘Individuals targeted under societal and legal norms’. In 2016, Afghanistan ranked second in the top countries of origin in EU+ countries, with more than 175,000 applicants. In the first ten months of 2017, more than 40 000 applications have been lodged in the EU+ by Afghans, ranking third (in the overall applications to date). In addition, the Afghan applications constitute the largest backlog of all countries of origin. At the end of October 2017, there were more than 64,000 asylum applications from Afghan nationals in the EU+ pending at first instance.
Today ECRE published a Policy Note analysing EU return policies and a Case Study on returns to Afghanistan identifying the risks, and the ethical, legal and political implications of a narrow focus on increasing the number of returns in general and in the specific context of Afghanistan.
With as many as 1 million people forcibly returned to Afghanistan in 2016 alone, where insecurity and instability greet them, the nature of return policies and reintegration assistance from European governments and others merits significant attention. These returns have significant implications for the individuals returned, Afghan society, and the migration-management and development objectives of the countries initiating returns, as this report explores.
This report describes how, as security in the country worsens and international donors disengage from Afghanistan, progress made toward getting girls into school has stalled. It is based on 249 interviews in Kabul, Kandahar, Balkh, and Nangarhar provinces, mostly with girls ages 11 to 18 who were not able to complete their education.