Afghanistan: Humanitarian Access Snapshot (December 2020)

Originally published
View original



During the reporting period covering December 2020, the HAG recorded a total number of 96 incidents involving security constraints either directly or indirectly affecting the humanitarian operations in Afghanistan. Compared to 124 incidents recorded during November, December illustrated a 33 % decrease in the number of incidents. However, this number still implies a high level of security challenges faced by humanitarian organizations operating in Afghanistan.

Interference in the implementation of humanitarian activities

During December the HAG recorded at least 22 incidents involving interference in the implementation of humanitarian activities in Afghanistan. The predominant number of these incidents (17) was initiated by NSAG-TB, which included, but were not limited to NSAG-TB members either attempting to interfere in the beneficiary selection or the program's locations, as well as the hiring process. NSAG-TB actions, in multiple instances, resulted in delays, or in some particular cases, in the suspensions of program activities, especially in the north and northeastern regions. At least three more incidents impacting access in December were initiated by the GoA, with the most notable involving the interference of a high-level member of a provincial government in the beneficiary selection process. At least two more incidents in December were initiated by ANSF members and involved denial of access, and in one case a request to provide information about NGO staff.

Military operations and Kinetic Activity

At least 21 incidents affecting humanitarian access in December resulted from military operations and kinetic activity. Half of the incidents were concentrated around the Southern Region, in particular Kandahar. This is dictated by elevated levels of kinetic activity between conflict parties during October-December 2020. The majority of these incidents was related to humanitarian workers temporarily suspending operations or movement due to presence of IEDs or ongoing armed clashes. Two incidents resulted in the death of a humanitarian worker. In Uruzgan, a humanitarian was killed during crossfire between the sides of the conflict, while in Paktika another fatality occurred during a drive-by attack of NSAG-TB targeting ANSF personnel, when an NGO staff member was collaterally affected and died shortly after. At least two more incidents collaterally involved humanitarian workers due to asymmetric IED attacks reportedly conducted by members of NSAG-TB. However, no casualties among humanitarians were recorded as a result of these incidents. With the overall expected increase in conflict activity, the number of incidents affecting humanitarian operations is expected to gradually rise towards the spring months.

Movement restrictions

With 23 reported instances in December, the number of incidents resulting in the restriction of movements has increased by at least 40 % compared to the previous reporting period of November 2020. At least 11 incidents directly affected the humanitarian community, eight of which were attributed to NSAG-TB members and predominately composed of stops at NSAG-TB checkpoints, where their members mostly focused on verifying the identity of humanitarian personnel travelling through the areas under NSAG-TB control or influence. With the increased focus of NSAG-TB members on the main routes, as a part of the strategy to cut the ANSF supply routes, it is possible to suggest that the number of incidents involving movement restrictions would gradually raise towards spring 2021.

Violence/Threats Against Humanitarian Personnel/Assets/Facilities

In December 2020, at least 22 incidents involved threats and violence against members of the humanitarian community, which resulted in five abductions and one killing of an NGO staff member, most likely as a result of a personal dispute. Moreover, one humanitarian worker was injured during a robbery. Furthermore, one NGO health worker was detained by NSAG-TB but released shortly after. However, NSAG-TB confiscated his medical supplies, indicating that the NGO had not been authorised to conduct their activities in the area. Overall the number of incidents involving threats and violence against humanitarian personnel in December remained at the level of November when 23 incidents of such matter were recorded.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit