Afghanistan + 1 more

Afghanistan/Pakistan: NRC country programmes

The Norwegian Refugee Council has the following goals for its work in Afghanistan and Pakistan:

  • Provide and Promote education for children and young people, especially girls

  • Provide information, advice and legal assistance for Afghan refugees in Pakistan. The goal is to help people to be able to find long-term solutions themselves, for example in the form of voluntary return to Afghanistan

  • Establish reconstruction measures in Afghanistan, including provision of education, information and advice about rights, and legal aid and shelter

This is what we are doing:

  • In Pakistan, the Norwegian Refugee Council offers basic schooling to more than 2500 children in the refugee camp in Ashgharo, with a particular focus on the girls

  • Information, advice and legal aid for Afghan refugees in Peshawar through dedicated centres and via mobile teams that visit refugee camps

  • In Kabul, we have made contact and established networks with other humanitarian organizations

Recent developments in projects:

The Norwegian Refugee Council has set up offices in Peshawar, where staff have been recruited, and is co-operating on projects with the United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

As of 1st December 2002 Norwegian Refugee Council has an office and a Norwegian Project Manager in Kabul.

Recent developments - the conflict and the refugee situation

A large number of refugees have already returned home from camps in Pakistan. This means there is now a greater need for foreign presence in Kabul.

Within Afghanistan, the situation is still unstable, partly because of disputes between different clan leaders and warlords. The situation for refugees and internally displaced persons is still critical.

The Afghan refugee population is still one of the largest in the world.


Afghanistan's strategic geographical location between the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent has led to the country being involved in a number of conflicts. Afghanistan was the centre of the "big play-off" between the British Empire and Russia, both of which wished to expand in the early nineteenth century. Afghanistan played a crucial role during the Cold War too. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, while the USA, Pakistan, Iran, China and Saudi Arabia supported Afghanistan and supplied it with weapons and money. In 1989, the Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan, but the ongoing civil war meant that the country was still marked by armed conflicts and instability.

In 1996, the Taliban came to power. The regime displayed a total disregard for human rights and democracy and was extremely brutal in its conduct. The situation in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban regime has been characterized by internal struggles for power and the USA's hunt for terrorists.

The numerous conflicts have led to a large proportion of the population fleeing, both within Afghanistan and to other countries. Neighbouring nations Iran and Pakistan have taken in two and three million refugees respectively. In addition, a large number of Afghans have fled to other countries around the world, especially Australia, the USA and Europe.

In addition to acts of war, Afghanistan has suffered a long period of drought, which has also forced people to flee.