Situation and Needs of Internal Migrants in Afghanistan


The recent report of United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) indicates that almost half a million Afghans have been displaced from their areas due to wars and drought in Afghanistan. The report also points out that overall 6.3 million Afghans are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, including 3.7 million Afghans in severe needs of the assistance.  

Since last 17 years, hundreds of thousands of Afghans are forced to leave their homes due to wars and natural disasters in Afghanistan every year. The displaced Afghans are mainly migrating to the cities and/or rather secure areas, where they also have been faced with lack of several humanitarian needs.

The situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Afghanistan, the reasons behind and the solution ways are discussed here.   


Internal Migrants

Displacing and moving to other areas due to wars and natural disasters in Afghanistan is a major challenge that Afghans are dealing with since last few decades.

In 2001, the number of internally displaced Afghans reached to 1.2 million due to war after the US campaign on Afghanistan; however, the number fell to 650 thousands after the security got maintained in the country and trend was on decrease due to improved security situation in the country till 2006.    

After 2007, following the upsurge of insecurity in some provinces, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) begun to rise whose number reached to (916,435) till the end of May, 2015.   

As the security situation got deteriorated in Afghanistan after 2015, a form of political instability emerged in the country which was followed by the poor economic situation as well as unemployment. Simultaneously, the number of IDPs in Afghanistan also got increased.   

Overall, approximately 500 thousands Afghans were displaced due to wars and natural disaster in 2016. The number reached to 600 thousand in 2017 and, according to the latest report of UNOCHA, more than 300 thousand Afghanis have been moved from their homes to other areas due to wars in last 11 months of 2018 only. The report cites a 36.6 per cent decrease in IDPs on the same period in last year as 482,909 Afghans had been displaced for their areas in the period; however, the need for humanitarian assistance in increased by two folds now from one hand, from other hand, the IDPs are yet to be provided with facilities to return to their homes. Therefore, more IDPs are added to the recent IDPs which, as a result, create a new crisis in the cities.        


Reasons Behind Internal Displacements

The following points are considered to be the main reasons behind internal displacement in Afghanistan:

  • War: the increasing insecurity and armed conflicts in the country is considered as one of the important reasons behind internal displacement. A large portion of internal displacement is originated from security situation in the country in last 17 years. For example, when the battleground was on fire in 2001, the internal displacement was also on the peak; however, it decreased in 2006 due to improved security situation. The number of IDPs has increased in recent years, particularly after the National Unity Government (NUG) came to power, because the war got intensified, the bombardment on homes and villages increased and the local strongmen and illegal armed men started to persecute the people.
  • Natural Disasters: natural disasters are considered as major reason behind internal displacement in Afghanistan. A number of families in the country have been forced to internal displacement due to various natural disasters like, drought, flash floods or landslides. In its report published on late April 2018, UNOCHA said that the drought in Afghanistan has affected the two-third portion of Afghanistan or 20 of its provinces and that two million people are at risk of becoming severely food insecure and hunger due to on-going drought.       
  • Poverty and Unemployment: another reason behind internal displacement in Afghanistan is poverty and unemployment. People from different regions of Afghanistan move to cities of different provinces, especially the Capital Kabul, hoping that there are more employment opportunities in the urban areas; which, in return, cause the population to become increased in cities and, hence, to emerge new problems there.


Consequences of People Displacement

The displacement of Afghans from their home areas creates two kind of problems; one; that are related to the IDPs, itself, and, two; that are related to community and other people they are dealing with.    

Moving from homes jettisons the agriculture and business of them from one hand; and from other hand, creates several mental and physical problems to their children. Because adopting with the circumstance of other areas takes time and, thus, they become deprived of education and other humanitarian needs. Meanwhile, unemployment and poverty of household leaders makes them to do hard labour and earn a living for their families in the cities. As for now, we see a lot of children in Kabul City that are busy with hard labour. They are mostly members of the families that have come to Kabul due to wars and other problems in their own provinces.

The increase in number of these migrants, however, emerges several problems in cities. The capacity of cities is low and the increase in population causes in deficiency of electricity and water as well as in intensification in healthiness problems.  


What should be done regarding the Internal Migrants?

Several Afghans have lost access to basic living facilities due to ongoing wars and insurgency as well as drought, the access to humanitarian needs and services got limited, due to which they are faced numerous problems.   

While the weather is getting colder day by day thanks to winter in Afghanistan, and if the needy people are not provided with assistance, perhaps, they will face a server situation and problems. Therefore, the Afghan government is needed to provide the livelihood facilities to the internally displaced persons (IDPs). Besides that, Afghan investors are needed to become encouraged to provide the IDPs with employment opportunities besides providing them with assistance.      

Moreover, the Afghan government is supposed to make efforts to secure the home areas of the IDPs and provide them with facilities to return to their homes and areas and live there peacefully. The intervention will not only solve the IDP problems, but it will also prevent quite a lot of problems in the cities.   

Furthermore, the Afghan government is in possession of adequate budget as well as a handful of bodies to cooperate with and assist the IDPs in various fields; however, they are not clean of corruption as well as other governmental bodies which causes in the assistance to be not received by needy people. 



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