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Snapshot 18–24 November 2015

Somalia: Flooding has affected 132,000 people and displaced an estimated 60,000 as low-lying areas of Mogadishu have now been inundated, as well as areas of Middle Shabelle and Lower Juba. Main supply roads are impassable and some airstrips unusable The middle and lower reaches of the Shabelle River remain at high risk of flooding.

Nigeria: Over 50 people were killed and more than 140 injured in bombings in Maiduguri, Kano, and Yola in the past week. Despite continued insecurity in the northeast, the government has announced plans to start closing IDP camps in Adamawa at the end of the year, and in Borno state in January 2016.

Ukraine: Both warring sides have moved some military equipment that had been withdrawn back to the contact line, and the President of Ukraine has threatened to return all withdrawn weapons if separatist forces continue to violate the ceasefire. The truce has been broken in a number of locations. In Crimea, more than 1.6 million people are without power and water supplies to high-rise buildings have stopped after main electricity lines from Ukraine were blown up.

Updated: 24/11/2015. Next update: 01/12/2015

Afghanistan Country Analysis


14 November: At least 65 Afghan soldiers surrendered to the Taliban in Sangin district, Helmand province, handing over weapons and equipment (Long War Journal, 17/11/2015).



- Nearly 1.2 million people are internally displaced because of conflict. 400,000 people are reported to have been newly displaced in 2015 (ECHO, 13/10/2015; 06/11/2015).

- 7.4 million in need of humanitarian aid (IOM, 31/08/2015). An additional 130,000 are in need in the aftermath of the 26 October earthquake (OCHA, 12/11/2015).

- 2.5 million estimated to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity between September and November (USAID, 16/10/2015). Over 200,000 are in immediate need of food assistance (FAO, 10/09/2015).



Natural disasters and armed conflicts in Afghanistan have caused humanitarian crisis. Assistance needs include food, healthcare, and protection. 7.4 million are reported in need of humanitarian assistance. 

The Afghan Government faces internal and external challenges to its capacity, legitimacy, and stability. The security environment is highly volatile and has deteriorated since the end of the ISAF mission and the withdrawal of most international forces. The outflow of people from Afghanistan has significantly increased in 2015, despite calls from the Government to stay and contribute to the reconstruction of the country.

Politics and security

A steep surge in violent attacks was recorded in the first months of 2015, making it the most violent year since the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was set up in 2001 (Brookings, 26/05/2015; Talk Radio News Service, 22/06/2015). ISAF withdrew in December 2014, and only around 12,000 NATO personnel remain in Afghanistan to provide training and equipment to the Afghan security forces. Concerns have been raised regarding the capacity of Afghan forces to keep the country secure, as the Taliban is expanding its area of control, with the government struggling to maintain unity.

Political instability

President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah were sworn in in September 2014 (Reuters, 29/09/2014). Rival presidential candidates in disputed elections, they have been struggling to maintain a unity government (Reuters, 08/07/2015; AFP, 26/09/2014). Leaders of ethnic groups have criticised Ghani for filling key government posts with Pashtun kin (Reuters, 08/07/2015; AFP, 26/09/2014). Parliamentary elections scheduled for April 2015 were postponed because of security concerns and disagreements over vote procedure (Reuters, 19/06/2015; local media, 01/04/2015). In September, President Ghani promised that a date would be set in the “immediate future” (1tvnews Afghanistan, 05/09/2015; Tolo News 17/09/2015).

Peace talks

Afghan officials and Taliban met in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 8 July for a first round of peace talks (AFP, 08/07/2015). The Taliban pulled out at the end of the month, likely to deal with uncertainty over new leadership after the public announcement that Mullah Omar had died in 2013 (AFP, 24/07/2015; The Telegraph, 30/07/2015; The Age, 31/07/2015). The current Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour is considered to be in favour of peace talks, although some factions remain opposed  (BBC, 30/07/2015; The Telegraph, 30/07/2015).

Pakistan–Afghanistan relations

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have long been tense; both states have accused each other of harbouring terrorists (Journal of Political Studies, 2015). At the beginning of September, Afghanistan accused Pakistan of organising insurgent attacks in Afghanistan, indicating in particular the December 2014 attack on an army school (The Tribune, 03/09/2015).

Conflict developments

The total reported number of conflict-related casualties from January until July 2015 is 4,921 (1,592 dead, 3,329 injured), 90% of them civilians (UNAMA, 05/08/2015). 3,699 civilians were killed and 6,849 injured in all 2014 (UNAMA, 18/02/2015).

As of 12 October, the Taliban are reportedly increasing the number of districts under their control in Farah and Faryab, and have captured areas in Badakhshan, Takhar, and Baghlan (UNSC, 02/02/2015; ECHO 12/10/2015). The Taliban have said their forces have withdrawn from Kunduz after seizing the city on 28 September, and as of 18 October, only sporadic fighting was reported, on the outskirts of the city (CNN, 14/10/2015; OCHA, 13/10/2015). This was the first major Afghan city to fall to the Taliban since the war began (Belfast Telegraph, 28/09/2015).

Kabul: On 8 October, two people about to carry out a suicide attack were reportedly shot dead by Afghan police before they could detonate their bombs (Daily Mail, 08/10/2015). On 11 October, a suicide attack targeting a convoy of foreign military personnel injured three civilians (Reuters, 11/10/2015).

Kunduz:  As of 18 October, only sporadic fighting is reported on the outskirts of Kunduz city (OCHA, 13/10/2015).

Helmand: On 14 November, at least 65 Afghan soldiers surrendered to the Taliban in Sangin district, Helmand province, handing over weapons and equipment (Long War Journal, 17/11/2015). On 21 October, Taliban fighters attacked the city of Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, but were pushed back by the US–Afghan coalition forces (AFP, 21/10/2015).

Other incidents: At least six people were killed and four injured when a rocket, reportedly launched by IS insurgents, hit a mosque in Achin district of Nangarhar province on 31 October (DAWN, 31/10/2015). On 8 November, seven people belonging to the Hazara minority were found dead in the Khak-i-Afghan district of Zabul province, after they had been abducted from Ghazni province in October. IS is suspected to be responsible (AFP, 09/11/2015). Thousands of people demonstrated in Kabul, demanding justice for the killings and increased measures to end interethnic violence (Le Monde 11/11/2015).



Despite confirmation of the death of Mullah Omar, historical leader of the Taliban, the Taliban has regained strength, especially since ISAF forces withdrew in December 2014. The ultraconservative Islamic force’s activities have expanded from south and southeastern areas to northern provinces, especially Kunduz, Balkh, and Faryab (The Telegraph, 30/07/2015; Daily Mail, 28/09/2015). The Taliban is increasingly financed by criminal enterprises including heroin laboratories, illegal mining, and kidnapping (UNSC, 02/02/2015). On 13 August, Ayman al Zawahiri, leader of Al Qaeda, reportedly delivered an audio message pledging allegiance to Mansour, the new Taliban leader (The Guardian, 13/08/2015).

Islamic State (IS)

Militants fighting under the IS banner in Afghanistan, including an unknown number of Taliban defectors and foreign fighters, have reportedly seized territory from the Taliban in at least six of Nangarhar’s 21 districts. Uncertainty remains regarding their links with IS in the Middle East (Reuters, 29/06/2015). IS launched its first offensive against Afghan forces on 27 September, attacking a checkpoint in Nangarhar (The Tribune, 28/09/2015). IS has reportedly been active in northern Afghanistan, especially on the border with Turkmenistan (Global Research, 16/06/2015).

International military presence

NATO ended its combat mission in Afghanistan on 31 December 2014, leaving just 13,000 troops in the country. The US will maintain all its 9,800 NATO troops until the end of 2016, having decided not to withdraw any troops after the attack on Kunduz (BBC, 15/10/2015). Other NATO troops from Germany, Italy and Turkey have not set an end date to their presence (Fox News, 11/10/2015). The focus of the mission is on supporting Afghan forces’ fight against the Taliban, along with US counter-terrorism operations (NATO 06/2015). The headquarters are in Kabul, with four other bases in Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Kandahar, and Laghman (NATO, 27/02/2015).

Afghan National Security Forces

The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are composed of around 350,000 personnel, including soldiers, police, and air forces personnel.

Pro-government militias

In Khanabad district, Kunduz province, the membership of US-funded pro-government militias, also known as local police, has grown to 3,000 this year, 1,000 more than in 2014, according to the district governor Hayatullah Amiri. The militia was founded with the purpose of mobilising rural communities against the Taliban. However, in recent months, civilians have reported a rise in abuse by these groups, including extortion, theft, and assault (Daily Mail, 03/06/2015; IRIN, 07/09/2015).

Natural disasters

93,900 people were affected by natural disasters between January and July 2015 (USAID & IMMAP, 12/11/2015). Another 130,000 were affected by the earthquake that struck Badakhshan on 26 October (OCHA 12/11/2015).


A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India on 26 October. The epicentre was in Jurm, Badakhshan province, in the Hindu Kush mountains. As of 18 November, the confirmed death toll is reported to be 115 in Afghanistan.  524 people are confirmed injured. Over 18,000 houses were damaged or destroyed. Damage was reported in 15 provinces: Badakhshan, Baghlan, Nangarhar, and Kunar are most affected. As of 18 November, over 130,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance, particularly shelter and food (OCHA, 12/11/2015; 18/11/2015). Landslides have occurred and access to remote rural areas is severely hindered. Telecommunications and electricity networks have been affected (ECHO, 27/10/2015).


Increasing insecurity has led to a rise in internal displacement. As of September, over 235,000 people were reported to have been displaced by conflict in 2015. In addition, over 21,000 families were displaced because of the seizure of Kunduz city by the Taliban between 28 September and 13 October, bringing the total number of newly displaced to 400,000 (ECHO, 06/11/2015). As of 15 November, some have reportedly returned home, but many chose to remain in the displacement camps waiting to the security situation to improve further (WFP, 15/11/2015).

In total, nearly 1.2 million people were reported internally displaced because of conflict in October 2015 (ECHO, 13/10/2015).

The 26 October earthquake destroyed over 6,900 houses, displacing many families and exposing them to harsh winter temperatures (OCHA, 12/11/2015).

Access to water, food, adequate shelter, and employment opportunities, is very limited for people displaced in remote and inaccessible areas of the country (IDMC, 31/10/2015).

Refugees and asylum seekers

As of 13 October, Khost and Paktika provinces were hosting around 227,880 refugees from Pakistan, with the majority being in Khost (including 10,210 families in Gulan camp) (UNHCR, 11/06/2015; ECHO 13/10/2015).  Displacement from Pakistan to Afghanistan’s Khost and Paktika provinces has been ongoing since mid-June 2014 and the beginning of military operations in Pakistan’s FATA region. 

Refugee returnees

As of 16 October, around 334,600 undocumented Afghan refugees have returned from Pakistan in 2015 (USAID, 16/10/2015). Numbers began to rise after security incidents in Pakistan, particularly the December 2014 Taliban attack in Peshawar. Police abuse of Afghans in Pakistan is reportedly pushing many refugees to return to Afghanistan. In 2015, over 130,000 Afghans have returned, almost four-fold the number of returnees in 2014 (UNHCR, 31/05/2015; HRW, 17/11/2015; Reuters 04/09/2015).

Refugees from Afghanistan in other countries

Pakistan: As of 16 November, 1,543,556 registered Afghan refugees, and an estimated 1,400,000 unregistered, are reported to be in Pakistan (ECHO, 16/11/2015). In Sindh province, only 67,000 of an estimated one million Afghan refugees are registered (DAWN, 31/08/2015). In 2014, 1,468,250 registered Afghans were in Pakistan, representing a 40,000 decrease compared to the 1,509,190 of 2013 (UNHCR, 01/12/2014; 01/12/2013).

In August, the government of Afghanistan requested that Pakistan allow the registered Afghan refugees to stay on its territory for another two years (ALHASAN, 24/08/2015). As of October, the Pakistani government has not made a decision (New York Times, 17/10/2015).

Iran: As of 16 November, 950,000 registered Afghan refugees, and an estimated 1,500,000 unregistered, are reported to be in Iran (ECHO, 16/11/2015).

Europe: Over 150,600 Afghans have arrived in Europe by sea in 2015. 80,910 entered Europe as asylum seekers (ECHO, 16/11/2015).

As of 24 September, an estimated 10,000 Afghans are reported to be applying for passports each day, up from a daily average of 7,000 reported at 7 September. In Afghanistan the passport is used primarily as a document for travel (VOA, 24/09/2015; 07/09/2015).

Humanitarian access
Access of relief actors to affected populations

Humanitarian presence is falling. On 3 October, a hospital run by MSF in Kunduz was hit by a US airstrike. 30 people were reported dead, and at least 37 injured (Reuters 05/10/2015; MSF, 09/10/2015; 26/10/2015; BBC, 05/10/2015,). The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission has been activated for the first time ever to investigate the attack, and is awaiting the agreement of the Afghanistan and US governments to proceed (MSF, 14/10/2015).

). Between January and 24 October, 67 aid workers were reported to have been attacked: 33 national aid workers have been killed, 21 wounded, and nine kidnapped; four international aid workers have been kidnapped (Aid Workers Security Database, 31/10/2015). In 2014, 57 aid workers were killed in Afghanistan (Reuters, 17/08/2015). Fears over the deterioration of the security situation are causing a reduction in applications to work in the country (AFP, 06/11/2015

Security and physical constraints

The 26 October earthquake cut off many remote areas, primarily because of landslides (OCHA, 31/10/2015). Weather conditions and insecurity are also affecting access in several areas of Badakhshan province (IFRC, 02/11/2015). As of 12 November, 195 earthquake-affected villages are still reportedly experiencing significant access challenges (OCHA, 12/11/2015). Snow is blocking roads and reducing access to markets, especially in areas at high altitude, and can exacerbate food insecurity (FAO, 10/11/2015).

Monitoring is increasingly suffering from the bias produced by lack of access to contested areas and overreliance on quantitative data (USIP 12/11/2015).

Food security and livelihoods

As of 13 October 2015, 2.1 million people were reported suffering from severe food insecurity. 7.3 million people were moderately food insecure (FAO, 10/09/2015; 13/10/2015)

As of 12 November, over 115,700 people are in need of food assistance following the 26 October earthquake. These include 100 families in Paktya province, 3,200 families in Jorm and Yamgan districts of Badakhshan, 1,489 families in Baghlan, and 390 families in Takhar (OCHA, 12/11/2015; 05/11/2015).

Over 2.5 million people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes or higher in the first months of 2016. In Badakhshan, Kunduz, and Paktika, 10–15% of the population are projected to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and need food assistance up to March 2016. Projections for March 2016 indicate that over 1.97 million people will be in Crisis, and over 549,000 will be in Emergency (FAO, 10/11/2015).

IDPs: The food security situation for IDPs is worsening, with around 200,000 people in need of immediate assistance (FAO, 10/09/2015). Newly displaced people, which will likely number 324,000 by the end of 2015, are projected to be in Crisis in the months up to March 2016 (FEWSNET, 30/09/2015).

Urban populations: Food security has deteriorated among urban households. During a May–June seasonal food security assessment, 13% of households indicated food insecurity as a primary issue, compared to 3% in 2014 (Food Security Cluster, 31/08/2015).

Female-headed households are 50% more likely to be food insecure than others, due largely to lower incomes and consequent poorer diet (FAO, 10/09/2015).

Food availability

The wheat and fruit harvests this year have been more favourable than in 2014, with improvements in market and household stocks. However, the wheat harvest remained below the five-year average (FEWSNET, 31/10/2015).


As of 31 October, projections up to March 2016 indicate that in eastern Afghanistan wages will remain stable. (FEWSNET, 31/10/2015).


The increase in insecurity and civilian casualties has impacted the work of health organisations and NGOs. High incidence of trauma, caused by widespread conflict, is making specialised trauma care essential, however the capacity available is very limited. Gaps in health services also include lack of maternal care and problems in the delivery of treatment for victims of sexual and gender-based violence (OCHA, 31/07/2015; Medical Teams International, 02/10/2015).

Healthcare availability and access

There is a shortage of trained surgeons, anaesthetists, and trauma capacity in conflict-affected areas (OCHA, 25/11/2014). Hundreds were wounded in Kunduz after the Taliban’s offensive, but the only public trauma care facility, run by MSF, was bombed and MSF withdrew (MSF, 28/09/2015; Reuters, 28/09/2015; NY Times 04/10/2015).

The health response to the 26 October earthquake is being challenged by access issues in some areas of Samangan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces (OCHA, 05/11/2015).

Prevalence of diarrhoea, cholera, and malaria is high nationwide, due to poor WASH conditions (ACTED, 10/11/2015).


In the first quarter of 2015, 445 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles were reported, compared to 581 cases in all of 2014 (WHO, 26/04/2015). The Afghan Ministry of Public Health has confirmed 12 outbreaks in 2015 (SalamWatandar, 25/07/2015). In 2014, the measles vaccination coverage of children between 12 and 23 months of age was 66%; in 2013 it was 60% (World Bank, 2014).

Mental health

Lack of psychosocial support for earthquake victims was reported on 12 November (OCHA 12/11/2015).


As of 17 November, 16 polio cases have been recorded in 2015, compared to 20 in the same period of 2014 (Global Polio Eradication Initiative, 17/11/2015). 28 cases were reported in all 2014, mostly in conflict-affected areas (WHO, 26/04/2015).


As of 21 September, 1.2 million children are reported to be acutely malnourished (IMMAP, 21/09/2015). 48,000 children under five die of malnutrition each year (Government, 04/08/2015).


In Afghanistan, 65% of the urban population, and 81% of the rural one does not have access to clean drinking water (ACTED, 10/11/2015). Only 5% of people nationwide, and 1% in rural areas, have access to improved sanitation facilities (ATN News, 16/09/2015).

Around 18,900 people in Sari Pul reportedly lack access to drinking water (Government, 09/11/2015).

Shelter and NFIs

Shelter is one of the main needs identified among IDPs throughout the country, with a spike in the needs caused by the 26 October earthquake (UNHCR, 31/07/2015; ECHO, 29/10/2015; OCHA, 18/11/2015).


As of 12 November, 92,225 people are reported to be in need of shelter in the earthquake-affected areas of the country. (OCHA, 12/11/2015).


As of 12 November, around 127,000 people are reported to be in need of NFI assistance in earthquake-affected areas. Of these, 1,490 families (over 10,000 people) are in Baghlan, and 1,700 (almost 12,000) in the access-challenged Jorm and Yamgan, in Badakhshan province (OCHA, 12/11/2015; 05/11/2015).


A large number of children cannot access education and significant obstacles remain in terms of gender equality (UNHCR, 15/09/2015).

Schools have closed because of fighting and insecurity. Following fighting in the northeast, all schools in Kunduz province have been closed (OCHA, 13/10/2015). A media report indicates that as November, 70% of children has returned back to school in the province (MS Magazine, 09/11/2015).

The 26 October earthquake completely destroyed 13 schools and caused damage to 28 schools in Badakshan province, according to preliminary assessment results (OCHA, 02/11/2015).

IS has reportedly started teaching its ideology in schools in the districts under their control, such as Shaigal in Kunar province (PBS, 17/11/2015).


UNAMA reported a 23% increase in casualties among women and a 13% increase among children over the first half of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014 (OCHA, 31/07/2015).

Afghan local police have 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).

During the first three days of Taliban control over Kunduz, from 28 September to 1 October, mass murder, gang rapes and house-to-house searches performed by insurgent squads were reported (Amnesty International, 01/10/2015).

Mines and ERW

22% of civilian casualties over January–June were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) (US Ministry of Defense, 04/09/2015). An average of 98 civilians per month are recorded as victims of mines or ERW (MAPA, 14/09/2015). Funding shortfalls might jeopardise demining operations (MAPA, 16/09/2015).


UNAMA registered 44 cases of sexual violence between January 2014 and January 2015 (UN Security Council, 15/04/2015). Sexual violence is underreported because of resulting social stigma as well as lack of access to Taliban-controlled areas.

During the fighting in Kunduz, women were particularly targeted, and experienced rape and harassment (AFP, 17/10/2015).


40 reports of sexual violence against children, affecting 27 boys and 24 girls, were registered by UNAMA between September 2010 and December 2014 (UNAMA, 24/08/2015).

The Afghan national police, local police, and armed groups have been listed for recruitment and use of children (Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict 02/05/2015). Children have been used as suicide bombers: 20 boys were killed carrying out suicide attacks between September 2010 and December 2014 (UNSC, 15/05/2015; UNAMA, 24/08/2015).

Vulnerable groups

When taking control of Kunduz the Taliban reportedly targeted media workers, occupying the headquarters of some news agencies. Several media workers are missing. The Taliban also destroyed equipment (RSF, 29/09/2015).

Updated: 23/11/2015