Afghanistan Protection Analysis Update


Afghanistan is undergoing a complex and multifaceted protection crisis after four decades of armed conflict and is still grappling with its long-term consequences, including high explosive ordnance contamination, and widespread destruction of essential infrastructure. Over 6.3 million Afghans remain displaced, and many of these people have been displaced multiple times. Marginalisation, discriminatory norms and practices continue to be widespread, including the curtailment of women and girls’ rights and their participation in the economic, social, and public life since the Taliban led de facto authorities (DfA) takeover in August 2021.

Following the consolidation of their control, there has been a crippling economic deterioration coupled by increasing climate-shocks such a third-consecutive year of drought and multiple earthquakes which resulted in wide-scale destruction of over 382 villages across Herat Province and directly affecting over 275’000 people in October 2023. Simultaneously, Afghanistan is also facing large-scale returns from Pakistan, including over 493’300 from 15 September 2023 to the end of December 2023. These recent events have significantly contributed to a changed environment and became key drivers of needs and compounded the already dire humanitarian situation.

These drivers continue to erode the population’s coping capacities and prevent them from becoming more resilient. Hence, despite a significant decrease in active conduct of hostilities across Afghanistan, widespread protection risks persist, characterized by significant protracted displacement, mine and explosive ordnance contamination, discrimination, and denial of access to services, resources and humanitarian assistance, restrictions to freedom of movement, growing threat of forced evictions, increased risks of gender-based violence (GBV), child labour, early marriage and heightened needs for mental health and psychosocial support. The protection space is shrinking and is affecting particularly women, girls, IDPs, returnees, persons living with disabilities, elderly, and other vulnerable groups. The protection risks requiring immediate attention in the period covered by this analysis are:

  1. Discrimination and stigmatization – denial of resources, opportunities, services and/or humanitarian access
  2. Gender-based violence
  3. Presence of mines and other explosive ordnance
  4. Unlawful Impediments and/or restrictions to freedom of movement
  5. Impediments and/or Restrictions to Access Legal Identity, Remedies and Justice (including access to secure land and housing and threats of forced eviction)