Read caption Fighting between Taliban and the IS in Khogyani district Nangarhar has displaced 17,000 people in the past few days. Photo: Enayatullah Azad/NRC

Barefoot from the battlefield

Sara Noemie Plassnig|Published 01. Dec 2017
In eastern Afghanistan thousands flee from armed clashes between Taliban and IS group forces.

The nights are getting colder in Kaga, the centre of the Khogyani district in eastern Afghanistan. Hundreds of families are seeking refuge close to the market town, some of them barefooted. 

In just a few days, over 17,000 people have fled from armed clashes between the Taliban and IS group in nearby villages. The two armed groups both want to control the areas.

The ongoing clashes between IS and Taliban have forced over 360,000 people to flee from their homes this year – over 1,000 people every day. 

The displaced families have nothing to eat. They lack water, sanitation and shelter. In temperatures down to zero degrees at night, they have no safe places to sleep and many of them have been forced to flee barefooted.


Read caption Mustafa, one and a half year old, is sleeping in the open air in Kaga, Afghanistan. Photo: Enayatullah Azad/NRC


Mustafa, one and a half year old, is sleeping under the open sky in the desert area of KagaMustafa’s family was displaced from a nearby village. The family is now living in Kaga without proper shelter, food or water.


Read caption Shamshad, Wajiullah and Yasin had to flee when fighting between the IS group and Taliban broke out in November 2017. Photo: Enayatullah Azad/NRC


Without warm blankets, Yasin, 10, Wajiullah, 10 and Shamshad, 13 (from left to right) sleep under the open sky in zero degrees. The boys had to leave all their belongings behind when they fled from Beyar village to Khogyani district centre.


Read caption A little boy was able to bring his goat when he fled to Kaga, eastern Afghanistan. Photo: Enayatullah Azad/NRC


A displaced boy from Adad Khaili village in Khogyani  managed to bring his little goat with him to Kaga.


Read caption When they fled, many displaced people brought their identification documents. When they are registered, they can receive the support they need. Photo: Enayatullah Azad/NRC


Displaced men were able to bring their Tazkeras  or Afghan national identity cardNow, they have their documents ready for registration and can receive assistance in the coming days.


Read caption In 2017, armed conflict has dicplaced over 1,000 people every day. Photo: Photo: Enayatullah Azad/NRC


An employee from the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) emergency team is distributing unconditional cash grants for displaced families in Sorkhrod district. Families who had to leave everything behind can buy what they need the most, like food or cooking equipment. The project is supported by the European Commission (ECHO).



  • The security situation continues to deteriorate in Afghanistan. At least 30 per cent of the country is not under the control of the formal government, and over 600,000 Afghans were newly internally displaced due to conflict in 2016.
  • Nangarhar Province, where the Khogyani district is located, is one of the main destinations for registered Afghan refugees who have been forced to return from Pakistan since 2016. 
  • In 2016, NRC assisted 300,000 displaced people in Afghanistan through legal assistance, shelter, and education. 
  • For more information about our work in Afghanistan, click here.