• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 35,700,000 Total population [?]
  • 35,700,000 People affected [?]
  • 5,239,000 People displaced [?]
  • 14,000,000 People in Need [?]



Afghanistan is affected by insecurity, infrastructure decay, and economic stagnation caused by decades of conflict, recurring natural hazards, and protracted and multiple displacement.

In recent years, the conflict between Afghan National Security Forces, the Taliban, and the Islamic State Khorasan Province has intensified. Violent attacks, armed clashes, and aerial and ground engagements have severely impacted civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, and roads. Since 2014, there have been more than 10,000 civilian deaths and injuries per year in Afghanistan, with those living in the provinces of Kabul, Nangarhar, and Helmand at highest risk.?

Afghanistan is prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes, droughts, and floods. Since January 2020, all 34 provinces have been affected by floods, flash floods, and avalanches, as a result of heavy rainfall. Over 110,000 people have been affected and 200 people killed. Agricultural lands and crops have been substantially damaged, which is likely to contribute to worsening food security across the country. Approximately 11.15 million people are currently estimated to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity or higher. 13.1 million people are projected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher levels of food insecurity between November 2020 and March 2021, a 6% increase from current figures.?

Approximately 4.1 million people have been displaced since 2012 from their village of origin. The largest IDP hosting areas are in the north, northeast, and eastern provinces, where conflict is most active. More than half of IDPs live in provincial capitals, where public services are strained and struggling to cope. A high number of returnees from neighbouring countries has put pressure on local and international response. Since January 2020, over 640,000 Afghans have returned from Iran and Pakistan. In September alone, there were 105,000 returnees compared to 46,000 during the same period last year. The main provinces that returnees from Pakistan go to are Kandahar and Nangarhar. For returnees from Iran, the provinces of Herat and Takhar are the principal destinations.?

INFORM indicates that Afghanistan’s risk of humanitarian crisis is very high with a score of 8/10. This is because of the country’s high hazard exposure and vulnerability.?


Latest Developments


12/11/2020 - 13.1 million people are projected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher levels of food insecurity in Afghanistan between November 2020 and March 2021, a 6% increase from the current 11.1 million. The provinces of Badghis, Ghor, Daykundi, Uruzgan, Samangan, Badakhshan, Nuristan, and the city of Faryab, Hirat and Kandahar will be worst affected, with at least 20% of the population facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4). The rise is mostly driven by active conflict resulting in displacement and limiting people’s movement, livelihood activities, and access to food markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced daily wage opportunities and decreased remittances from migrant workers in Iran, making it harder for people to buy food. The projection also accounts for access constraints posed by seasonal flooding, and higher food prices in winter linked to increased transport costs in hard-to-reach areas.?

Humanitarian Access


VEry High Constraints 

Prolonged and escalating conflict across the country continues to hamper humanitarian access. Active conflict between the Afghan National Security Forces and the Taliban is still triggering short-term and protracted displace - ment, which limits the access of displaced people to livelihood opportunities and to humanitarian aid. This is even more difficult for those without any formal documentation who are unable to access education programmes, hu - manitarian aid distributions, formal employment, and medical treatment. A considerable number of humanitarian agencies operate across the country. Their access is subject to considerable bureaucratic processes, however, including registration processes, both in government-controlled areas and areas controlled by non-state armed groups. Humanitarian operations are also constrained by conflict, IEDs, and checkpoints, which often lead to the suspension of humanitarian activities and inhibit the free movement of people. A number of health facilities have been forced to close because of insecurity, affecting the provision of essential health services. In August, humanitarian access was hampered by flooding and landslides and the upcoming winter season is likely to hinder movement. Given the overlap between humanitarian and political issues, the outcome of intra-Afghan peace talks and the foreign policy adopted by the new US administration will be key in shaping future humanitarian access.?

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Key Priorities


Food: Approximately 30-40% of the total population experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3)or Emergency (IPC Phase 4 levels of food insecurity. This is driven by a weak labour market, poor purchasing power, conflict, and severe drought.?

Emergency shelter and NFIs: 4.1 million people displaced by conflict and natural hazards since 2012 live in substandard shelters in urban and rural settlements. People experiencing protracted internal displacement lack access to shelter, privacy, and safe water and sanitation facilities.?

Protection: Heavy mine contamination and a high presence of explosive remnants of war across the country heightens protection concerns. Women face restrictions in accessing property and, education, and experience high rates of gender-based violence.?


Peace Deal


The Taliban and the US signed a peace deal on 29 February 2020, after more than two years of negotiations. The deal outlined a timeline for the release of 5,000 Taliban political prisoners held by the Afghan Government in exchange for 1,000 Afghan security forces held prisoner by the Taliban.

The peace deal paved the way for intra-Afghan talks, which began on 12 September 2020, bringing officials from the Afghan government and the Taliban together for the first official talks in over 19 years.?  


Presidential Elections 2019


Presidential elections took place in Afghanistan on 28 September 2019. Voter turnout was the lowest since elections began in 2001, with only 25% of eligible voters participating. Low turnout was partly a result of insecurity. On election day, more than 2,000 polling centres were closed because of security concerns. According to UNAMA estimates, 85 people were killed and 373 injured in attacks relating to the election period.?

The results of the election were delayed for more than three months due tobecause of technical problems. Following an announcement that incumbent Ghani had secured 50.64% of the vote, the Afghan Election Commission received more than 16,000 complaints, which led to a review of polling stations for voting inconsistencies.?

In February 2020, Ghani was confirmed as the winner. This was rejected by the opposing candidate, Abdullah Abdullah. In May 2020, a tentative power-sharing deal was reached, signalling an end to the contested election period. The agreement names Abdullah Abdullah as the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, the leading role in the peace process with the Taliban.?


Information gaps and needs


Access is often restricted due to ongoing hostilities, mine contamination, NSAG presence and remoteness, which subsequently decreases the accuracy of assessments of humanitarian needs.

Considering high population mobility and access restrictions, it is often difficult to track movements of internally displaced and returning populations.

Lessons Learned


Months of higher temperatures, usually from April to October/November, represent the Afghan fighting season, because milder temperatures make roads and other infrastructure, as well as mountain passes, more accessible.?

Heavy rains, usually falling from January - April, often cause flash floods and landslides in remote, northern areas of Afghanistan.?