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Afghanistan situation: Emergency preparedness and response in Iran, 27 September 2021

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KEY HIGHLIGHTS

663,969 people have been internally displaced in Afghanistan since the start of 2021, of which 80% are women and children. This year, UNHCR has reached 369,943 IDPs with life-saving support.

Afghans continue to make their way to Iran in an irregular manner through unofficial border points. UNHCR is aware of 17,786 Afghans who arrived in Iran from 1 January until 25 September. The actual numbers are very likely much higher. Out of the newly arrived families interviewed by UNHCR, 75% reported having crossed into Iran through unofficial borders.

Official borders between Afghanistan and Iran remain closed for asylum seekers, while borders are open for commercial purposes and foreign-national passportholders with valid visas for Iran.

SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN

▪ Concluding a three-day visit to Afghanistan (12-15 September), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees,
Filippo Grandi, appealed for more support, saying that “the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remains desperate.” The World Health Organization warned on 22 September that Afghanistan’s health-care system is “on the brink of collapse”, as a lack of funding has left thousands of health facilities struggling to buy medical supplies and pay their staff. According to reports from UNAMA, teachers, nurses and other civil servants have not received a salary for months, while prices of food items and other basic commodities have skyrocketed.

▪ On 23 September 2021, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, stated that the UN Security Council is united in seeking a stable Afghanistan and an inclusive government, where humanitarian aid can be distributed to vulnerable populations.

▪ There have been reports that women-owned businesses, especially restaurants and cafes, have remained closed by the Taliban in Kabul. “Women have been progressively excluded from the public sphere, prohibited from appearing without a male guardian and face increasing restrictions on their right to work,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said at the UN General Assembly on 21 September.
Additionally, the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said during a panel discussion on supporting a future for girls’ education in Afghanistan, held on the margins of UNGA, that ensuring all Afghan girls can be educated must be “a zero condition” for the Taliban, before international recognition of their de facto authority can be considered.

▪ On 24 September, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued two general licenses to support the continued flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan.