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Heavy movement of Afghan refugees towards Pakistan and Iran as conflict intensifies

Heavy fighting in Afghanistan continues to displace people (Photo: IANS)

In yet another warning about the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the UN has said that internally displaced Afghans are trying to move out of the country towards the Pakistan and Iran borders. The UN also said that the appeal for humanitarian funding is falling short.

UN Deputy Special Representative Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov said on Thursday: "We are also seeing very intensive movements of the population to the areas, adjusting to the orders, where Iranian and Pakistan borders are now largely closed, and the people are using the illegal border crossing trying to move through those borders".

The UN says that nearly 18 million Afghans, which is half the population, require assistance. One-third of the country is malnourished while half of all children under five are suffering from acute malnutrition.Alakbarov, speaking with journalists in New York, said that besides the intensified conflict, drought and the gradual takeover by the Taliban contributed to large-scale displacements.

Earlier this week, Babar Baloch, UNHCR’s global spokesperson had said that "an estimated 270,000 Afghans have been newly displaced inside the country since January 2021–primarily due to insecurity and violence–bringing the total uprooted population to over 3.5 million". Of these, 270,000 Afghans were displace since January 2021 in the wake of US and NATO troops withdrawing from the region.

With healthcare facilities crumbling in the war-torn country, Covid-19 is adding to the humanitarian tragedy. Last week, the Afghan government had said that the fall of key dry ports has disrupted exports and imports, imposing negative impacts on the country's economic activities.

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