Homes of internally displaced people demolished in Kabul, during previous evictions. Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC

Afghan authorities evict thousands of internally displaced people in Kabul amid growing humanitarian crisis

Published 04. Jun 2024
On Sunday, 2 June, the Afghan authorities began demolishing informal settlements for internally displaced people in Kabul, resulting in more than 800 vulnerable families becoming homeless. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is urging the Afghan authorities to immediately halt ongoing evictions until appropriate longer-term solutions for relocation have been identified.

“I am deeply shocked by Sunday’s forced eviction of around 6,000 internally displaced people in the capital. These are some of the most vulnerable communities in Afghanistan. Several families that our teams in Kabul spoke to reported that they had nowhere to go after the authorities demolished their homes,” said Neil Turner, NRC’s country director in Afghanistan.

“We call on the Afghan authorities to act compassionately and uphold their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law and the Afghan National Policy, which protect internally displaced people from being forcibly removed from their homes. Until legal safeguards, due process, and the provision of alternative housing are in place, the authorities must stop all further evictions and demolitions of informal settlements."

Afghanistan is still in the grip of growing humanitarian and socioeconomic crises that have devastated the population since the Taliban takeover in August 2021. At the end of 2023, 4.2 million people were internally displaced as a result of conflict and violence and 1.5 million due to disasters. The sudden return of around 600,000 vulnerable Afghans from Pakistan since last September has dramatically increased the number of displaced persons in the country, placing additional burdens on already stretched resources.

“We are greatly concerned about the current situation where the authorities keep repeating these evictions of the most vulnerable displaced communities across the country, forcing the affected families into new cycles of never-ending displacement,” said Turner.

Notes to editors:

  • Photos are available for free use here.
  • More than 800 families – approximately 6,000 people – will be displaced again following the demolishment of their settlements by the authorities in Kabul (information from NRC’s field teams in Kabul).
  • At the end of 2023, 4.2 million people were internally displaced as a result of previous conflict and 1.5 million as a result of disasters (IDMC).
  • Around 600,000 Afghans have returned from Pakistan since September 2023 (UNHCR). The authorities are bound by obligations under international law, including against forced evictions. In this regard, for eviction to meet international standards and not be forced, authorities must comply with several principles, including obligations after an eviction has occurred, specifically that people must not be left homeless or living in inadequate housing.
  • NRC is offering legal assistance and other services to internally displaced across Afghanistan, including in Kabul.
  • NRC responded to three other incidents of evictions of internally displaced people in 2022 and 2023: in Kabul in July 2023Kabul in June 2023, and Badghis in December 2022. In the aftermath of all incidents, NRC's field teams noted that evicted families struggled to get their basic needs met and often experienced secondary displacement because of the evictions.


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