The humanitarian situation inside Afghanistan deteriorated in 2021 with significant consequences for the most vulnerable among the population. Some 3.4 million people are currently displaced by conflict. UNHCR is responding to this emergency. In Iran and Pakistan, which are neighbours of Afghanistan, there are also 2 million registered Afghan refugees. The majority of these refugees fled Afghanistan over the years, including from as early as 1979. A further 5.3 million refugees returned to Afghanistan in phases since 2002, but this trends has been declining in recent times. In August 2021, UNHCR has also released a non-return advisory for Afghanistan, calling for a halt on forced returns of Afghan nationals, including asylum seekers who have had their claims rejected. On this page you will find updates on UNHCR's work in support Afghan IDPs, refugees and returnees. Links are also provided below for the individual UNHCR country operation pages for additional information.
Registered Refugees from Afghanistan (in Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan)
UNHCR collects data to inform advocacy, programming and response for the protection needs of Afghans in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Tajikistan as well as to support Governments and partners in asylum processes. UNHCR utilises multiple data collection methodologies, including border monitoring, cross-border movement tracking through Refugee Key Informant and Household interviews, individual protection assessments and various forms of mandate registration. The overall number of Afghans with international refugee protection needs is likely to be much higher. The increase on the overall figure does not necessarily reflect the displacement of that same period, but rather the date of assessment.
Over 3,700 Afghans were hosted by the Iranian authorities at border locations since 1 January 2021, although most have returned. According to Government of Uzbekistan sources, some 13,020 Afghan citizens arrived in the country since January 2021. The majority arrived before August 15 with valid visas issued by the Uzbek consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif. This group is currently unwilling and unable to return and UNHCR considers that they may be in need of international protection.