EASO Country of Origin Information Report: Afghanistan Individuals targeted under societal and legal norms

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European Asylum Support Office


This report was drafted by the COI sector of the Information and Analysis Unit in EASO.

Terms of Reference

The report aims to provide relevant information for the assessment of international protection status determination (PSD, including refugee status and subsidiary protection).

The terms of reference of this report were defined based on information needs identified by policy experts in EU+ countries (2) and UNHCR within the context of a Country Guidance pilot exercise on Afghanistan. Terms of Reference for this report can be found in Annex 2 This report covers topics on individuals targeted by socio-legal norms in Afghanistan. It was drafted in conjunction with a report on targeting by armed actors linked directly to the conflict, titled EASO Country of Origin Report: Afghanistan - Individuals targeted by armed actors in the conflict (3).


This report is based on desk research of public, specialised paper-based and electronic sources. The main research was completed up until 30 November 2017. In addition, EASO researchers conducted extensive interviews with the following sources:

  • Abubakar Siddique, senior correspondent specializing in coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the editor of RFE/RL's ‘Gandhara’ website. In addition to his reporting,
    Siddique speaks frequently at prominent Western think tanks and has contributed articles, chapters, and research papers to a range of publications. Siddique's unique expertise is brought to bear in his book, The Pashtun Question: The Unresolved Key to the Future of Pakistan and Afghanistan (2014).

  • Dr. Liza Schuster, a sociologist at City University of London who has conducted fieldwork in Afghanistan and who studies the impacts of deportation on Afghan returnees and who has published several academic studies on this topic.

  • An Afghanistan-based senior representative of the Women for Afghan Women (WAW), a non-governmental organization operating in 13 provinces which provides services, counselling, and support to women in situations of gender-based violence.

  • Masood Ahmadi, the national programme manager for Afghanistan on return, reintegration, and resettlement for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Afghanistan.

  • A legal advisor for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), who works on issues of land disputes with displaced populations and returnees to Afghanistan. NRC is an independent humanitarian organisation that delivers aid, and monitors and reports on displaced populations in the field, including in Afghanistan.

Ali M. Latifi, a journalist based in Kabul who has researched the situation of returnees and Afghan refugees since 2013, including in Greece and Turkey.

  • A programme officer who was based in Kabul until 2015 and frequently returns to the country, and who has worked with returnees for several international NGOs in Afghanistan. The contact person requested to remain anonymous for security reasons.

  • Ahmad Waheed, an independent researcher on Afghanistan and former analyst for the US Naval Postgraduate School program on culture and conflict in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central and South Asia regions. The program provides information and analyses on culture and conflict to a range of audiences such as military personnel, diplomats, academics, and the public.

To verify whether the writers respected the EASO COI Report Methodology, a peer review was carried out by COI specialists from the departments listed as reviewers in the Acknowledgements section. In addition, a review of the report was carried out by the Human Rights Unit at the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and by Dr. Neamat Nojumi, a scholar on Central and Southwest Asia and senior policy analyst on Afghanistan. All comments made by the reviewers were taken into consideration and most of them were implemented in the final draft of this report. EASO performed the final quality review and editing of the text. This quality process led to the inclusion of some additional information, in response to feedback received during the respective reviews.