SSAR Support Platform

Afghanistan

Today some 18 million Afghans are estimated to be in need of humanitarian aid. Living conditions have been eroded by decades of conflict, recurrent natural disasters, economic stagnation and under-investment in critical infrastructure and human resources. This situation was exacerbated by intensified conflict in 2021 and the continued threat of COVID-19.

Furthermore, the health system is fragile with WHO raising an alert in September 2021, saying there has already been a surge in cases of measles and diarrhoea, almost 50% of children are at risk of malnutrition and a resurgence of polio is a major risk. All elements of the COVID-19 response have declined. Health facilities are also experiencing stock-out of essential medicines.

Voluntary return of refugees to Afghanistan has declined since 2021. Those who return often live side by side with with vulnerable and affected local communities and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Together they share meagre resources and over-stretched infrastructure, making an area-based approach one of the most effective strategies.

Photo: UNHCR

There has been a lacuna of community-based, conflict-sensitive programmes in rural areas which has negatively impacted prospects for sustainable return and reintegration. The Support Platform seeks to address this gap by building synergies around an area-based approach in line with the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).

Nearly half of the Afghan population are under the age of 15, giving the country the youngest population worldwide, and rendering strategic investments in education, training and youth empowerment an imperative.

The majority of refugees in the Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan cite security in Afghanistan, lack of access to livelihoods, land, shelter and basic services as the main obstacles to return and reintegration.

In August 2021, UNHCR called on States to halt the forcible return of Afghan nationals who have previously been determined not to be in need of international protection. It issued its non-return advisory in the wake of the rapid deterioration in the situation in large parts of Afghanistan and the unfolding humanitarian emergency.

News & Stories on Afghanistan