Monthly Migration Movements - Afghan Displacement Summary - Migration linked to conflict & political instability, July 2017

Report
from Danish Refugee Council, Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat
Published on 31 Jul 2017

Introduction

This month, the CASWA 4Mi paper focuses on migration linked to ongoing conflict and political instability.

Insurgent activities and attacks in Afghanistan are more intense during the spring and summer seasons, generating the assumption that more people may also report migrating from the country for reasons associated with lack of security.
Based on months of 4Mi data, the report will analyse this hypothesis. It will also consider characteristics of those planning to migrate out of Afghanistan due to conflict and insecurity. The report will also look at potential destinations for migrants who list conflict as their primary cause for migration as well as the protection concerns they face on route.

The paper is based on 4Mi interviews with 1139 Afghans conducted during March-June 2017. Respondents started their journey within Afghanistan and wish to migrate abroad.

Conflict, Insecurity, and Political Instability

Continued conflict, political instability, lack of institutional structures and infusion of billions of dollars in assistance by the international community have led to continuous fragility in Afghanistan as well as significant issues with corruption, little economic development, constant insecurity and a steady increase in numbers of casualties and IDPs. Since January 2017, the number of IDPs has reached more than 164,000 people1. According to UNAMA’s mid-year report2, more than 1600 Afghan civilians were killed and 3500 were injured in the first half of 2017. Many believe that the security situation in 2018 will only get worse.

Despite its own efforts and those of the international community, the National Unity Government in Afghanistan has not been able to keep itself integrated. From the first days of its establishment, complications rose between President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah; these continue to the present day. General Dustom, first Vice President, has ever since the election felt sidelined by the President3. New political alliances continues to emerge within the government showing the high level of disagreements among the parties who largely rely on familial and ethnic ties. The Hazara Enlightenment Movement, Afghan Protection and Stability Council and Uprising for Change Movement are examples of movements that put pressure on the government and make it challenging for them to engage effectively in military operations4. Meanwhile, various insurgent groups further continue fighting with the government.

Conflict continues to be a feature of Afghanistan, with the government only claiming control over 57% of the country5. In the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, there are 20 terrorist organizations and insurgent groups out of which 13 are in Afghanistan and the rest in Pakistan6. Some of the largest groups continue to be Taliban, Da’esh and the Haqqani Network. The Taliban claimed that 211 districts are controlled or contested by them7 and in 2016 they made many efforts to take over provinces such as Helmand, Kunduz, Faryab, Paktika, and Baghlan. During the last 2-3 years Da’esh has become a serious threat in Afghanistan however, Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) and US operations have weakened their ability to conduct more subversive attacks. The Haqqani Network fights against US-led NATO forces and the government of Afghanistan and the recent huge explosion in a crowded intersection in Kabul is attributed to this network, killing over 150 and injuring more than 400 people8.

Peace talks with insurgent groups continue. As an example, a peace agreement was recently signed between Hezb-e-Islami (one of the largest militant groups in Afghanistan) and the government. Many believe this as a success that might encourage other groups such as Taliban to engage in peace talks. However, considering the recent increase in the offensive attacks in different parts of the country it seems unlikely to happen.