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Afghanistan emergency


Afghanistan emergency

Following decades of conflict, millions of people in Afghanistan are experiencing abject poverty and hunger amid economic collapse, recurrent natural disasters, and the widespread curtailing of human rights, particularly for women and girls.

UNHCR and partners, including local NGOs, are responding to deliver vital humanitarian relief and basic needs support. Over 23.7 million people inside Afghanistan, and 7.3 million Afghans and host community members in five neighbouring countries need support in 2024.
Rehman Gul*, 40, with his two-year old daughter Nazia*, near their home on the outskirts of Kabul. 

The first time I returned, I was very sad; it was a very green village before with fruit trees and when I came back, everything was destroyed.

Mohammad, 36, internally displaced Afghan man after returning to village in Kunduz province
Afghanistan is experiencing a humanitarian crisis and protracted displacement.

Although new conflict-related displacement has reduced in recent years, Afghanistan is grappling with one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. More than half the population needs humanitarian assistance, the health care system is collapsing, the growing impacts of climate change are exacerbating poverty and food insecurity, and women and girls have limited access to fundamental human rights, including the right to be educated and to work.

Afghans constitute one of the largest refugee populations worldwide, with almost 90 per cent hosted in Iran and Pakistan. Between mid-September and mid-March 2024, over 531,000 Afghans returned to their country from Pakistan, most of them after an announcement by the Government of Pakistan that it would deport undocumented foreign nationals living in the country. The abrupt return of hundreds of thousands of Afghans has further compounded the humanitarian crisis and placed an undue burden on already limited resources in vulnerable communities. UNHCR has assisted some 94,000 returnees since Jan 2023.

What is UNHCR doing to help?

UNHCR is committed to staying and delivering in Afghanistan to protect the most vulnerable and assist Afghans with life-saving protection services – especially for women and girls, shelter, core relief items, cash assistance, community-based programmes, and psychosocial support. 

We also support programmes, including livelihoods and training, to encourage self-reliance, resilience, social cohesion and to create conditions for solutions to displacement.

UNHCR provides targeted winter assistance, including blankets, stoves, insulation kits and support for heating, as well as emergency assistance in response to disasters such as the earthquakes that struck Herat Province in October 2023.

To support refugees returning from neighbouring countries, UNHCR provides legal counselling, health checks, mental health assistance, and cash grants.

More humanitarian aid is urgently needed to protect and assist Afghans forced to flee.


Are you a refugee or asylum-seeker in Afghanistan? Find information about your rights and available services on our HELP site.

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Are you looking for data on displacement in Afghanistan? Visit the UNHCR data portal for the latest data and statistics on refugees and other displaced persons.

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Operational updates

For information on UNHCR's operational response, budgets and funding, please visit the Afghanistan situation page on Global Focus.

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