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Afghanistan situation: Emergency preparedness and response in Iran, 20 September 2021

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Situation Report
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KEY HIGHLIGHTS

The Afghanistan crisis remains overwhelmingly within Afghanistan itself. Since the beginning of the year, 634,800 individuals have been displaced, joining the 2.9 internally displaced persons in the country by end of 2020.

Afghans continue to make their way to Iran in an irregular manner and through unofficial border points. UNHCR is aware of 16,335 Afghans who arrived in Iran from 1 January up until 18 September. Out of the 502 families that UNHCR interviewed so far, 71% indicated having had to resort to using smugglers.

Official borders between Afghanistan and Iran remain closed for individuals seeking asylum, while borders are open for commercial purposes and foreign-national passport-holders with valid visas for Iran.

SECURITY SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN

  • The security situation in Afghanistan remains calm, yet unpredictable. UNHCR and its partners have largely been able to continue with operations in nearly all of Afghanistan’s provinces, undertaking ongoing activities and programmes in some two-thirds of all districts.

  • On 7 September 2021, the Taliban announced a new government and published a list of newly appointed cabinet members, all male. The new Taliban mayor of Kabul has reportedly told female employees in the city to stay home unless their jobs cannot be filled by a man. About a third of the city's 3,000 employees are thought to be women. Several protests in Kabul and Herat by women demanding their rights and inclusion in government were violently broken up by the Taliban.

  • The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on 20 September called for maintained dialogue with the Taliban in Afghanistan. He said discussions are a must "if we want Afghanistan not to be a centre of terrorism, if we want women and girls to not lose all the rights acquired during the previous period, if we want different ethnic groups to be able to feel represented."

  • UNHCR has not observed mass outflows of refugees from Afghanistan through regular border crossings yet, as Afghans have so far largely fled within Afghanistan’s borders – since the beginning of the year, 634,800 have been internally displaced. These internally displaced persons (IDPs) remain UNHCR's operational priority.