IOM Afghanistan assists people in need across the country with timely and effective life-saving humanitarian support, transition and recovery, including vulnerable returnees, people affected by natural disaster and conflict, and impacted host communities. IOM builds the capacity of the government and civil society on migration management, and builds the resilience of people and communities to mitigate risks, to recover from crises, and to reintegrate people returning home in a sustainable and holistic manner. IOM works with Government and partners across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus and will seek to adjust programming to support the ongoing peace process as appropriate.
Forty years of conflict have shaped Afghanistan as a country of displacement, migration, and return. The intensifying armed conflict in 2020 and the continuing deterioration of the protection environment for civilians, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, is driving a large volume of displacement and cross-border out-flows into Iran, Pakistan, and beyond. Significant annual returns of undocumented Afghans also continue, with over 838,000 undocumented returnees as of 19 December 2020 (Source: IOM Afghanistan- Weekly Situation Report- Return of Undocumented Afghans- 13-19 December 2020). 2021 is shaping up to be one of the highest cross-border return years on record. These returns have been both voluntary and forced: at least 37% of returns from Iran in 2020 have been deportations (ibid). Internal displacement is driven by both conflict and natural disasters (mainly flash floods and drought). The total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in protracted displacement due to natural disasters is estimated at 1.2 million, and to conflict is close to 3 million (Humanitarian Needs Overview 2021).
2021 holds the potential for transition in Afghanistan, with the ongoing negotiations in Doha between the Afghan Government and the Taliban. Nonetheless, people in need in Afghanistan, and the funding required to support them, continue to increase - the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Afghanistan calls for $1.3 billion to support 18.3 million people, an increase of 31% from the $14 million in 2020. In addition to ongoing insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic down-turn, severe drought-like conditions are projected for Afghanistan in 2021, which may result in food insecurity for as many as 13 million people (Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan 2018-2021). This could result in a deepened and increasingly complex crisis scenario in 2021.