During the reporting period, political upheaval, conflict and violence, and a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has brought increased human suffering and civilian displacement in the country.
Some 550,000 Afghans have now been internally displaced in the country since the beginning of the year, in addition to 2.9 million Afghans already internally displaced at the end of 2020. Since the beginning of the year, some 120,000 Afghans have fled from rural areas and provincial towns to Kabul province – including some 20,000 since the start of July. Some 80 per cent of nearly a quarter of a million Afghans forced to flee since the end of May are women and children, whom the conflict is taking the highest toll on.
While the vast majority of Afghans forced to flee their homes remain within the country, more than 5,000 refugees have approached UNHCR or partners this year in neighboring countries, with most reporting having left Afghanistan for security and conflict-related reasons.
The total number of Afghans who have left the country seeking safety is, however, likely to be higher than those approaching UNHCR or partners, largely owing to the reports from the Iranian authorities that irregular arrivals of Afghans into Iran have recently been estimated at some 5,000 people per day – up to three times the daily average.
UNHCR continues to monitor the situation at the borders of countries neighboring Afghanistan, calling on authorities to keep border crossings open for those who may need to seek safety. UNHCR is working to improve information collection on new arrivals at border areas, though access remains a key challenge.
Amid intensified clashes in Nimruz province in the south-west of Afghanistan, some 200 Afghan refugees were forced to flee to Iran in the reporting period, though the total number of arrivals due to the clashes could be higher.
Limited regular movements of Afghan individuals from Afghanistan to Pakistan has been observed at the two main border crossing points between the two countries during the reporting period, largely due to temporary border closures.
No refugee movements from Afghanistan to Tajikistan by land border crossing points were observed during the reporting period.
Given the situation in Afghanistan, Afghans outside of the country may have international protection needs. UNHCR has therefore strongly welcomed the actions taken by several states to temporarily halt deportations of failed asylum-seekers and ensure access to asylum procedures.