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Snapshot 24–30 June 2015

Burundi: Turnout at the parliamentary elections was low. Voting stations were targeted and there was a spate of grenade attacks in the capital: several people were injured. Around 1,000 Burundians are leaving the country every day: 62,000 refugees are now in Tanzania, 45,000 in Rwanda, and 10,600 in DRC.

South Sudan: Households in some areas of Unity and Upper Nile states are suspected to be facing Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) food security outcomes. 5–8% of the country’s population are suffering severe acute malnutrition.

Nigeria: 3.5 million people are expected to be in need of food assistance in the northeast between July and September. Eastern Yobe, central and eastern Borno, northern Adamawa and IDP settlements are worst affected. More than 250 people have been killed in violence in the northeast since 29 May, with at least 77 killed between 22 and 29 June. Displacement continues. 

Updated: 30/06/2015. Next update 07/07/2015.

Afghanistan Country Analysis

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

25 June: Insecurity in Chardara district, in southwest Kunduz province, makes it increasingly difficult for civilians to reach Kunduz city to access basic services (MSF).

16 June: 36% of irrigated crops and 5% of rain-fed crops were damaged by late frost in Bamyan province end May, likely to affect food security (Solidarités Internationales).

 

KEY CONCERNS

- Nearly 1,000 civilians killed and 1,990 injured by conflict in the first four months of 2015 (UNAMA, 07/06/2015). 3,699 were killed and 6,849 injured in the whole of 2014 (UNAMA, 18/02/2015).

- 6.9 million in need of humanitarian aid in 2015. Badghis, Helmand, Kunar, Nangarhar, and Wardak most need assistance (UNICEF, 21/01/2015; OCHA, 25/11/2014).

- 205,440 refugees from Pakistan since mid-June 2014; long-term concerns from protracted displacement (UNHCR, 11/06/2015).

- As of end April, there were 873,000 IDPs in Afghanistan, including half displaced in April (UNCHR, 24/05/2015).

- By November 2015, it is estimated that 500,000 to 990,000 people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes or higher (FEWSNET 20/05/2015).

 

OVERVIEW

Natural disasters and armed conflicts in Afghanistan have caused humanitarian crisis. Assistance needs include food, healthcare, and protection.

The Afghan Government faces internal and external challenges to its capacity, legitimacy, and stability. The security environment is highly volatile and expected to deteriorate as international troops gradually withdraw from the country.

Political Context

Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah were sworn in as Afghanistan’s President and Prime Minister, respectively, on 29 September 2014 (Reuters, 29/09/2014). The pair were rival presidential candidates in disputed elections (AFP, 26/09/2014). Elections scheduled for April were postponed because of security fears and disagreements on vote procedure. The current Parliament’s mandate has been extended until a vote can be held (Reuters, 19/06/2015; local media, 01/04/2015).

Peace Talks with the Taliban

Peace talks with the Afghan Taliban stalled in mid-2013. On 2 May, an Afghan delegation held an open discussion in Qatar with the Taliban, offering hope for progress among the population (IWPR, 19/06/2015; AFP, 02/05/2015). Unconfirmed reports stated that renewed talks were held in Oslo mid-June (NRK, 15/06/2015).

Security Context

In the first four months of 2015, nearly 1,000 civilians were killed and 1,990 injured as a result of conflict; casualties among Afghan police and soldiers rose by 70% compared to the same period last year (UNAMA, 07/06/2015; US Institute of Peace, 01/06/2015).  3,699 civilians were killed and 6,849 injured in all 2014 (UNAMA, 18/02/2015).

Taliban

Remote parts of southern and southeastern Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, remain under Taliban control. Taliban numbers have risen by 15% since the beginning of 2013, and the group has intensified attacks, especially since April this year. An increasing number of Taliban attacks have also recently been reported in the north, in particular in Badakhshan (Al Jazeera, 13/06/2015). The group is increasingly financed by criminal enterprises including heroin laboratories, illegal mining, and kidnapping (UNSC, 02/02/2015).

International Military Presence

NATO formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan on 31 December 2014, moving to the Resolute Support mission made up of 9,800 US troops and 3,000 soldiers from other member states. The focus of the mission is on supporting Afghan forces’ fight against the Taliban, along with US counter-terrorism operations (Reuters, 01/01/2015).

Conflict Developments and Incidents

Helmand: An explosion in Marka district on 20 June killed 14 people and wounded five (AFP, 20/06/2015). On 13 June, at least 20 Afghan police officers were killed in a Taliban attack in Musa Qala district (AFP, 13/06/2015).

Kabul: At least two people were killed and 31 wounded in a Taliban attack on the Afghan Parliament on 22 June, as President Ghani was to introduce his Defence Minister nominee in Parliament (AFP, 22/06/2015). During May, attacks mainly targeting at police forces and government officials killed at least 45 and injured at least 55 (Al Jazeera, 26/05/2015; AFP, 19/05/2015; 17/05/2015; 14/05/2015; 10/05/2015; Trust.org, 04/05/2015).

Kunduz: Taliban offensives took place simultaneously in five districts on 2 and 3 May (Afghanistan Analyst Network, 3/05/2015). The Taliban, supported by foreign fighters, has come close to the provincial capital, cutting it off (BBC, 07/05/2015).

Other incidents: On 1 June, Taliban militants stormed police headquarters in Jalalabad after a suicide bomb attack at its gate. Nine policemen were wounded (Reuters, 1/06/2015).

Humanitarian Context and Needs

Planning figures are for 6.9 million Afghans in need of humanitarian aid in 2015, including 2.8 million children, compared to 7.4 million in 2014 (UNICEF, 21/01/2015). Badghis, Helmand, Kunar, Nangarhar, and Wardak most need assistance (OCHA, 25/11/2014).

Access

Humanitarian access is a key operational concern as conflict continues in many parts of the country. Commercial flights to Kunduz were suspended in May. Conflict in Chardara district in particular makes it increasingly difficult for civilians to reach Kunduz city to access basic services (MSF, 25/06/2015; AFP, 08/05/2015). In April, WFP reported no accessibility to some districts bordering Pakistan, in east Farah, south Ghor and north Helmand as well as to the north of Badghis and south of Jowzjan (WFP, 30/04/2015). Humanitarian actors do have access to Pakistani refugees in Paktika province (UNHCR, 11/06/2015).

Security Incidents Involving Aid Workers

On 2 June, unidentified militants killed nine Afghan NGO employees in Balkh province (Reuters, 02/06/2015). In April, one health staff was seriously injured in Kandahar province (WHO, 18/05/2015). In Paktika province, 19 mine clearance workers were abducted in April and released two days later (local media, 20/04/2015; 21/04/2015). On 10 April, five Afghan members of an NGO were killed in Uruzgan after having been abducted (UN, 11/04/2015).

There were 293 incidents against aid workers in 2014, including 57 killed (UN, 11/04/2015; OCHA, 31/12/2014).

Disasters

Between 1 April and 15 May, avalanches, flooding, heavy rainfall, and landslides affected 44,823 people. 125 people were killed or injured and 6,062 houses destroyed or damaged. Badakhshan, Baghlan and Faryab were most affected (OCHA, 16/05/2015).

Displacement
IDPs

As of end of April, there were 873,136 IDPs in Afghanistan. Overall, nearly 220,000 IDPs are in the south, 216,000 in the west, 145,000 in the east and 121,000 in northern Afghanistan (UNHCR, 24/05/2015).

As of May, fighting in the north has displaced nearly 134,000 people in Kunduz province, including 32,960 in Kunduz city, 14,600 in Jorm, 19,370 in Badghis, 6,280 families in Badakhshan, 5,840 families in Baghlan province, 5,180 in Faryab, and 410 in Fayzabad (OCHA, 25/06/2015; 28/05/2015). By 31 March, 13,840 Afghans had reportedly been displaced by military operations in Helmand in 2015, and needed food, health, and NFIs (UNHCR, 28/02/2015, 31/12/2014, OCHA 19/04/2015).

Badakhstan: 859 IDP families have been assessed and assisted in Badakhshan Province since February.

Food and NFIs are the most urgent need but the security context challenges access. Another challenge is the identification of IDPs, as host communities sometimes claim displacement (UNCHR, 24/05/2015).

Refugees

Displacement from Pakistan to Afghanistan’s Khost and Paktika provinces has been ongoing since mid-June 2014. As of 8 June, these provinces were hosting around 205,440 refugees from Pakistan, the majority in Khost (including 10,210 families in Gulan camp) (UNHCR, 11/06/2015). There are concerns about the host communities’ ability to support the refugee population, in particular in terms of food, shelter, and education. A recent influx of 700 refugee families has been reported, but not verified (UNHCR, 15/06/2015). Spontaneous returns of refugees to Pakistan have been reported, although the number is unknown (UNHCR, 14/04/2015).

An additional 600,000 Baloch refugees who have fled insurgency activities in Pakistan since 1986 are living in precarious conditions, notably in Nimroz (AAN, 31/12/2014).

Returnees

Returns of Afghans from Pakistan have increased following security incidents in Pakistan, particularly the December Taliban attack in Peshawar. By 13 May, 60,000 Afghans had returned home voluntarily since early 2015; 6,000 had been expelled (AFP, 13/05/2015; UNHCR, 24/05/2015). Returnees report an increased number of protection issues and cite eviction notices by authorities as the primary factor that influenced their return (UNHCR, 24/05/2015). 30–40% of undocumented returnees are vulnerable and in need of assistance (OCHA, 28/02/2015; IOM, 13/02/2015). 25,000 people returned in 2014 (AFP, 13/05/2015).

Afghan Refugees in Neighbouring Countries

As of September 2014, there were 2.5 million Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries (USAID, 01/10/2014).

Food Security

As of April, Badghis province is facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes. Badakhshan, Nuristan, Ghor, Daykundi and Bamyan are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) (FEWSNET, 01/05/2015).

By November 2015, it is estimated that 500,000 to 990,000 people will be in Crisis or worse (FEWSNET, 20/05/2015).

Agriculture and Markets

36% of irrigated crops and 5% of rain-fed crops were damaged by late frost in Bamyan province end May; potatoes and fruit – the main sources of cash for households – were most impacted. This is likely to affected food security (Solidarités Internationales, 16/06/2015).

The 2015 wheat harvest is expected to be worse than last year’s in Ghazni, Bamyan, Daikundy, Kandahar, Hilamand, Zabul, Uruzgan, Paktya, Paktika and Khost, mostly as a result of natural disasters and conflict (FEWSNET/WFP, 07/06/2015).

Livelihoods

Refugees in Khost and Paktika have exhausted short-term coping mechanisms and need livelihood opportunities to face long-term displacement (UNHCR, 26/05/2015).

Health and Nutrition

There is a shortage of trained surgeons, anaesthetists, and trauma capacity in conflict-affected areas (OCHA, 25/11/2014). Nearly 80% of maternal and reproductive health needs are unmet (WHO, 10/12/2014). Tuberculosis is a high burden for Afghanistan, but many new cases were missed in 2014 due to lack of close monitoring (Government, 24/03/2015).

Measles

29 measles outbreaks were reported in April (WHO, 18/05/2015). In the first quarter of 2015, 445 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles were reported, a significant increase from last year’s total of 581 cases (WHO, 26/04/2015).

Nutrition

Nearly 517,600 children suffer from SAM (UNICEF, 21/01/2015). Helmand and Panjshir show GAM of 6.3% and 9.1%; SAM is 2% in Panjshir, and 0% in Helmand. Treatment for people suffering acute malnutrition is being delayed by insecurity, process changes and pipeline breakages (UNICEF/Government/Nutrition Cluster, 31/03/2015).

An estimated 45% of all child deaths in refugee and IDP camps are linked to malnutrition (UNICEF, 21/01/2015). The presence of common animal diseases in areas of Khost and Paktika has reduced the availability of meat and milk products to Pakistani refugees and host communities (FEWSNET, 11/02/2015).

Polio

Three cases of polio have been reported so far in 2015 (Global Polio Eradication Initiative, 03/06/2015). 28 cases were reported in 2014, mostly in conflict-affected areas, compared to 14 in 2013 and 37 in 2012 (WHO, 26/04/2015; Global Polio Eradication Initiative, 25/02/2015).

WASH

1.9 million Afghans are in need of better access to safe WASH facilities (UNICEF, 21/01/2015).

Refugee influxes have stretched already limited water and hygiene resources and infrastructure in Khost and Paktika; lack of solid waste management and latrines are major challenges, while access to latrines and potable water remains a challenge in Urgun district, Paktika (UNHCR, 15/06/2015; 08/04/2015).

Shelter

A growing number of IDPs live in informal settlements in major Afghan urban centres, in substandard and crowded accommodation, with insufficient WASH facilities, food, education, and employment opportunities. Women are particularly at risk, with reduced access to education, health, and livelihood opportunities, and facing significant unmet mental health needs (NRC, 23/03/2015). As of December 2014, 40,629 refugees were in 52 informal settlements in the capital (OCHA, 17/12/2014). Numbers on people in informal shelters across Afghanistan are lacking.

Education

Educational facilities in Khost are overstretched, with 344 schools employing 6,000 teachers and teaching around 360,000 children. There are 50,000 school-aged refugee children in Khost (Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 05/11/2014). Language barriers are a challenge for the refugees and will be of increasing concern if displacement persists (UNHCR, 31/05/2015).

In provinces most affected by fighting, schools have closed over the fear that students might get caught in crossfire. In northern Baghlan, for example, at least 18 schools were closed in May (Reuters, 31/05/2015).

Protection

Afghan local police has reportedly been involved in intimidation, physical abuse or violence, bribe-taking, salary fraud, and theft. Incidents of rape, drug trafficking, drug abuse and the selling or renting of local police weapons and vehicles have also been reported (ICG, 05/06/2015).

Child Protection

The Afghan national and local police and three armed groups (Taliban, Haqqani Network, and Hezb-e-Islami) have been listed for recruitment and use of children (Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict 02/05/2015). Children have also been used as suicide bombers by armed groups (UNSC, 15/05/2015).

Six million of the 16 million minors in Afghanistan face deprivation of basic rights. 31% of children are illegally employed in heavy labour, especially in Helmand, and 43% of girls get married underage (IWPR, 03/06/2015).

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is underreported because of the social stigma attached to it and lack of access to Taliban-controlled areas. Between January 2014 and January 2015, UNAMA registered 44 cases (UN Security Council, 15/04/2015).

Mines and ERW

4,306 minefields and battlefields remain in Afghanistan, corresponding to almost 541km2 (MAPA/MACCA, 31/05/2015). There is an average of 38 civilian casualties every month and another 61 civilian casualties from IEDs (MAPA, 18/05/2015).

Updated: 29/06/2015