Afghanistan: Displacement Crisis Worsens as Militants Take Control of Kabul

Akanimo Sampson

Akanimo Sampson

Afghans abroad are worried about family and friends still in Afghanistan as tens of thousands of citizens are being displaced in their country.

Many diplomats are said to be struggling to leave the troubled country. The US embassy has advised its nationals to shelter in place as Taliban enters Afghanistan’s capital.

Afghanistan’s President, Ashraf Ghani,  has left the country, and residents and diplomats are scrambling to leave, though Kabul’s airport is now closed to commercial flights. The US embassy has lowered its flag, and the Taliban said in a statement it is working to restore law and order.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai says a “coordinating council” is being formed to “prevent chaos and reduce the suffering of the people and to better manage the affairs related to peace.”

Women in Afghanistan are especially vulnerable to Taliban control.

Already, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is saying that thousands continue to be displaced in Kabul and other urban areas in large numbers.

Kabul is however, the capital and largest city of Afghanistan, located in the eastern section of the country. It is also a municipality, forming part of the greater Kabul Province, and divided into 22 districts, Kabul serves as its political, cultural and economic center. Rapid urbanisation made Kabul the world’s 75th largest city.

The government and humanitarian partners have deployed 15 inter-agency assessment teams in Kabul to verify internally displaced people (IDPs) and assess their humanitarian needs.

Some 15,600 internally displaced people (IDPs) were verified to be in need of humanitarian assistance and most of these people have received multi-sector response – in the form of food, cash, health, household items, and water and sanitation support.

OCHA says due to an escalation of conflict across the country, many people are arriving in Kabul and other large cities, seeking safety from the conflict and other threats.

Between July 1 and August 13, 2021, the humanitarian community verified 15,600 IDPs who had arrived in Kabul.

New IDPs were reported to have arrived from from Ghazni and Logar provinces. Since Saturday, an additional 2,100 people were verified to be in need humanitarian assistance.

IDPs are either renting or being hosted by friends, family and other kinship ties. A growing number are also staying in the open in different parts of the city.

According to the government’s IDPs monitoring team from the Department of Repatriation and Refugees, more than 80 families have indicated readiness to return to their places of origin – in Kunduz, Baghlan and Takhar provinces, in the northeastern part of the country. Humanitarian partners are closely monitoring the situation.


The fleeing President allocated 40 million Afs ($500,000) to provide assistance to recent IDPs across the country. The humanitarian community also continues to provide a multi-sector assistance to IDPs in Kabul and other parts of the county.

In Kabul, two mobile health teams are operating in two IDP camps (in Dasht-e-Padola (PD 7) and Dehsabz (PD 19) ensuring that IDPs are reached with antenatal and post-natal care for mothers and children; psychosocial support; as well as nutrition and vaccination services.

COVID-19 vaccination and Rapid Response Teams are also undertaking routine screening, sample collection, referrals and COVID-19 vaccinations as well. More than 1,650 IDPs in the aforementioned two sites have been reached through health services.

Some fifteen inter-agency assessment teams were operating on 14 August, verifying IDPs and their humanitarian needs.

People’s immediate needs continue to be shelter (cash-for-rent, tents and tarpaulins), household items, food, sanitation (toilets), hygiene kits and drinking water.

Humanitarian partners have so far provided food, cash, household items, health and water and sanitation assistance to more than 13,500 IDPs, while more assistance is on the way.


The Humanitarian Community is working closely with the government and municipal authorities in Kabul to plan the response and ensure people are provided with the most dignified living conditions.

The Operational Coordination Team (OCT) is meeting daily and chaired by OCHA, with the presence of Department of Refugee and Repatriation (DoRR), Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and humanitarian partners.

From the government’s side, a coordination cell has also been established to coordinate and monitor the distribution of assistance (food and household items from private sources – charity organisations, civil societies and individuals).

Meanwhile, OCHA and partners are tracking population inflows along the four main entry points into the city.


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