EASO publishes IOC report on Afghanistan: Country focus
Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) released a Country of Origin Information (COI) report on Afghanistan. The report is titled “EASO COI Report Afghanistan: Country focus” and covers the initial developments since the Taliban takeover on August 15, 2021, namely the formation of the Taliban government, policy development and implementation. , as well as the situation under the Taliban for the general population. and for certain groups or specific profiles. Security incidents and violence related to resistance, insurgent groups, terrorism and the like were also included, along with information on the general humanitarian situation. The report does not cover events after December 8, 2021.
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan manifested itself with high degrees of variability across the country. Although an interim government has been announced, the implementation of formal policy and Sharia law appears to differ. For example, there are regional differences in girls’ access to secondary education, and there have been reports of local Taliban leaders, as well as Taliban fighters, imposing their own perceptions of Sharia law related to areas such as dress codes, beard trimming, freedom of movement and women’s access to work. Such variability has also been reported in the adherence of Taliban fighters to the amnesty granted to those affiliated with the former government, and in their response to protests. Uncertainty has also been reported among the general population about the laws in force, resulting in many conforming to what they perceive to be in line with Taliban standards, such as wearing traditional clothing or women staying behind. inside, although such official regulations have not been published. .
The overall security situation with regard to conflict-related violence has changed in the country with the fall of the former government in mid-August 2021. Pockets of resistance have been reported in some areas, as well as clashes. between the Taliban and the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP). The ISKP has also been attributed with serious attacks on Shiite mosques, hospitals and other targets.
The humanitarian situation in the country has deteriorated since the Taliban took power. Drought, international sanctions and the financial crisis have severely affected levels of food insecurity, children’s access to education and access to medical care. The health system is under pressure with shortages of funding, personnel and drugs.
As the situation in Afghanistan evolves, EASO will continue to research COIs and publish on topics of particular relevance to the determination of the international protection status of Afghan asylum seekers. This information is crucial for the individual assessment of the protection needs of asylum seekers and for the ongoing development of an EASO National Guidance Note on Afghanistan. By developing such guidance, based on a joint COI analysis with senior policy experts from Member States, EASO aims to foster higher levels of convergence in Member States’ asylum decision-making practices.
From January to October 2021, Afghans filed over 73,900 applications for international protection in the EU +, up 91% from the same period in 2020. In September there was a peak – the highest since September 2016 – partly linked to evacuations. from Afghanistan. In October, the number of requests decreased from the peak in September, but remained high. Since August, Afghans have formed the largest group of candidates in the EU +. The upward trend in applications has led to an increase in first instance decisions. However, the number of decisions handed down to Afghans was far lower than the number of Afghan claims filed in recent months. This has resulted in an increase in Afghan cases awaiting a decision at first instance (especially recently filed), which topped 61,700 at the end of October, the highest number since October 2017. Recent events in Afghanistan have had a negative impact. impact on the EU + recognition rate at first instance. After fluctuating between 45% and 60% earlier in 2021 and rising to 86% in September, in October, the recognition rate of Afghans reached 91%. Almost 80% of all positive decisions in October granted refugee status and the rest granted subsidiary protection, while the corresponding percentage was 46% in the first 10 months of 2021. For more information, see EASO’s Latest Asylum Trends page.
The report was drafted by EASO in accordance with the methodology of the EASO COI report, and has been reviewed by the COI units of the Belgian Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, the Dutch Ministry of Justice, the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum, the Slovak Migration Office of the Ministry of the Interior, the Swedish Migration Agency, as well as Landinfo – the Norwegian Center for Information on Countries of Origin.
The report can be downloaded from the EASO COI Portal. Further information on EASO’s COI and Country Guidance activities, including on Afghanistan, is available on the EASO website.