ACAPS Briefing Note: Afghanistan - Conflict and Displacement in the Northeast, Kunduz City, and Kabul (13 October 2015)

Originally published


Crisis Overview

On 28 September, the Taliban launched a major offensive in the northeast, focusing on Kunduz city, the capital of Kunduz province. On 4 October, Taliban forces also attacked Maimana, capital of Faryab province, but were pushed back by Afghan forces with US- led coalition air support. As of 12 October, Afghan forces have reportedly regained control of most of Kunduz, but fighting continues in and around the city.

At least 55 people have been killed and hundreds wounded. 150,000 people remain within Kunduz city without access to humanitarian assistance. The Taliban are reported to have carried out severe violations of human rights, including targeting civilians.

US forces bombed Kunduz hospital, run by MSF, on 3 October, killing at least 22 patients and staff. The hospital is no longer operational and health services are very limited. No other humanitarian organisations are operating in Kunduz city. Trauma patients are being redirected to the hospital in Imam Saheb district of Kunduz province.

Between 100,000 and 140,000 people have been displaced by the surge in violence, mainly from Kunduz province, but also from Balkh, Baghlan, Takhar, and Badakhshan.

Several bomb and suicide attacks were carried on in the capital Kabul on 5, 9, and 11 October.

Key Findings

Anticipated scope and scale

The Taliban are likely to increase their attacks on Takhar,
Badakhshan, and Baghlan provinces, to consolidate their control of northeast Afghanistan. This will create additional displacement and increase humanitarian needs.

Priorities for humanitarian intervention

 Health services are the priority in the northeast, in particular trauma care. No organizations are delivering health care in Kunduz and surrounding areas at this stage. Health services are also needed for over 7,000 families in camps in Taloqan area.

 Food security assistance. Many residents have been confined to their homes and may have depleted food stocks.

 Shelter and NFIs for the over 100,000 people displaced in the northeast, especially those in camps.

 WASH is a key priority in Kunduz, because water supplies were cut off in the city. In IDP camps in other areas of the region, water delivery has started.

Humanitarian constraints

 After the MSF hospital was hit by a US airstrike, it pulled out of Kunduz. There are no other international humanitarian organisations in the city.

 Roads leading out of Kunduz are now reportedly open but fighting is reported to be severely limiting humanitarian access.

 Road infrastructure in most areas of Afghanistan is poor or non-existent, and banditry is common on the few functioning highways.

 The Taliban has reportedly been able to gather personal information of NGO staff, government employees and security personnel. This may increase the likelihood of these groups being targeted in the future


Lack of access due to insecurity is challenging needs assessment activities, and the provision of humanitarian assistance in Kunduz City.