18 February 2015
The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) report on Afghanistan describes the security trends and armed confrontations, including the impact of the violence on the civilian population. The EASO Country of Information report notes a 24% increase in civilian casualties in 2014 compared to 2013. More specifically, there was an increase in civilians killed and injured in ground engagements and crossfire, including attacks involving rockets, mortars, and grenades. According to EASO’s report, the areas which have been the most affected are the South, South-East and East of Afghanistan.
Moreover, the publication further highlights that as of January 2014 there were 2.5 million Afghan refugees worldwide, with most staying in Pakistan and Iran. Voluntarily repatriation to the country has decreased by 68% due to the uncertainty of security conditions; also the number of Internally Displaced Persons remains high with many finding themselves in situations of protracted displacement in Kabul.
The report notes that armed insurgent groups, such as the Taliban and Hezb-e Islami Afghanistan, have increasingly conducted large-scale attacks on the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), with the largest amount of security incidents registered in Hilmand and Kandahar. As a consequence, the insurgents have been increasingly successful in conquering and holding territory. According to the report, there are daily suicide bomb attacks, shootings and rocket attacks in areas bordering Pakistan.
Lastly, with regards to the judicial system, the report contends that it is particularly weak in rural areas, if present at all. In some regions the Taliban have enforced a parallel judicial system based on strict interpretation of Sharia, where women are often the victims of harsh punishment, such as mutilation.
Some 42,000 people from Afghanistan applied for asylum in 2014 in the EU, Norway and Switzerland.
For further information:
- EASO, Press Release, EASO publishes a Country of Origin Information report on security situation in Afghanistan, 13 February 2015
- Human Rights Watch, World Report 2014, Afghanistan
- International Committee of the Red Cross, Afghanistan facts and figures for 2014, 9 February 2015
- UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Annual Report 2014, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, February 2015