Afghanistan is a landlocked country in Southern Asia, bordering Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, and Pakistan. Its national capital is Kabul. Afghanistan covers a land area of 652,230 square kilometers. As of 2022, the country had an estimated population of around 38.3 million people.
The humanitarian situation
More than 18 months after the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan remains in the grips of one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Millions in Afghanistan are experiencing misery and hunger amid decades of conflict. The cumulative effects of violent conflict, internal displacement, drought and other natural disasters have drastically increased humanitarian needs throughout Afghanistan. The country is prone to natural disasters, including floods and earthquakes.
The collapse of the country’s economy is further exacerbating humanitarian needs. Millions of Afghans – particularly children and women – need urgent life-saving humanitarian assistance. Ongoing insecurity and frequent natural disasters continue to displace populations and generate additional humanitarian needs throughout the country. Already suffering the worst drought in decades, Afghanistan in June 2022 has been struck by a devastating earthquake, that killed at least 1,000 people and left many more injured.
In 2021 alone, more than 700,000 people were forced to flee their homes. Since 2021, about 1.6 million people have found refuge in neighboring countries. The United Nations (UN) estimates that – as of June, 2022 - more than 3.5 million people were displaced within the country, while 2.1 million Afghan refugees have fled the South Asian country.
The Regional Refugee Response Plan for the Afghanistan Situation 2023 seeks 613 million US Dollar to support 5.2 million Afghans as well as 2.7 million of their local hosts across the region. The five neighboring countries Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan host some 8.2 million Afghans, including 2.1 million registered refugees and asylum-seekers. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), many Afghans have been in the region for decades, mostly in the Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan.
Nearly 20 million people in Afghanistan face acute hunger between November 2022 and March 2023, including more than 6 million people in emergency levels of food insecurity. 4 million people are acutely malnourished, including 3.2 million children under the age of five.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), malnutrition in Afghanistan has reached the highest levels since records have been kept, and the country continues to face the highest prevalence of insufficient food consumption globally. Nonetheless, in March 2023, the UN agency announced that it has been forced to drastically reduce critical lifesaving assistance in Afghanistan to millions of vulnerable people due to lack of funds. At least four million Afghanis will receive just half of what they need to get by for the time being.
Afghanistan must also contend with a worsening climate crisis. As the country enters the third consecutive year of drought, more and more households are feeling the impact, and 30 out of 34 provinces in Afghanistan report extremely low water quality.
28.3 million people - two-thirds of the country’s population - require humanitarian assistance in 2023, an increase of 16 % compared to the previous year. Among those in need are 15.3 million boys and girls.
The UN had appealed for 4.44 billion US Dollar in funding for the Afghanistan crisis in 2022. As of December 2022, only 2,61 billion had been received from donors (59% coverage). In 2023, the United Nations and humanitarian partner organizations have launched an appeal of 4.62 billion US Dollar to ease the plight of millions of people affected by the humanitarian crisis in the country.
The security situation
In February 2020, the United States (US) and the Taliban signed the “US-Taliban Agreement,” which contained commitments by the US related to the withdrawal from Afghanistan of military forces of the US and its allies, as well as commitments by the Taliban related to security. Following a US drawdown of virtually all of its troops, a summer 2021 Taliban offensive quickly overran the country.
The Taliban which refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan seized Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul on August 15, 2021, following the successive capture of several provincial capitals and territory in early August. Following the collapse of the Government of Afghanistan, economic and political instability has resulted in the deterioration of basic service provision across the country, increased prices of staple foods and fuel, reduced household purchasing power that constrain the ability of Afghan households to meet basic needs.
Despite the Taliban’s taking control of much of Afghanistan, other armed groups challenge their authority. UN agencies and non-governmental organizations continue to be on the ground. However, the Taliban takeover has complicated the conditions for the provision of humanitarian assistance, and the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has grown even more complex and severe.
The actions of the de facto authorities targeting women and girls in the country - the exclusion from public and political life, economic activity and education, aggravate both the economic crisis throughout the country and in particular the security and humanitarian situation of the female population.
As the latest in a series of systematic restrictions and violations of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, the Taliban issued an order prohibiting all female employees of national and international non-governmental organizations from going to work. NGOs on the ground state that without their female staff, they cannot effectively reach children, women, and men in need.
Your donation for the Afghanistan emergency can help United Nations agencies, international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their local partners to rapidly provide water, food, medicine, shelter and other aid to the people who need it most.
- UN Crisis Relief: Afghanistan crisis
- World Food Programme: Afghanistan emergency
- UNHCR: Afghanistan emergency
- International Rescue Committee (IRC): Afghanistan crisis
- Islamic Relief Worldwide: Afghanistan emergency
- UNICEF Appeal: Afghanistan
- World Vision: Afghanistan appeal
You can find more organizations to which you can donate under: DONARE: Humanitarian Crisis Relief, DONARE: Refugees and IDPS , DONARE: Children in Need and DONARE: Hunger and Food Insecurity.
- UN Humanitarian (OCHA): Six things you need to know about Afghanistan right now, December 20, 2022
- International Crisis Group: Afghanistan
- UN OCHA: Afghanistan
- ACAPS: Afghanistan Complex crisis
- European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations: Afghanistan