The European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) has just published a Country of Origin Information (COI) report on Afghanistan. It provides an update on the security, humanitarian, and socio-economic situation in the country, and reviews the latest developments on the treatment of select profiles by the de facto Taliban government. The report will contribute to a forthcoming update of EUAA Country Guidance on Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban takeover on 15 August 2021, the security situation in Afghanistan has generally improved as regards conflict-related events, but this has come at the expense of a general deterioration in the humanitarian and human rights situation. Throughout 2023, activities by opposition armed groups have decreased and not prevented the de facto authorities from exercising effective control over the country.
The new regime appears to be gradually devolving into a theocratic police state, by taking further steps to implement their interpretation of sharia law for the reported purpose of "purifying" Afghan society and ejecting foreign influence.
Although most of the Taliban's instructions that seek to regulate the private lives of Afghans have been enforced inconsistently since 2021, they have further hindered the civil and human rights of the population. Moreover, the civic space has continued to shrink as journalists, human rights activists and persons perceived as opposing the Taliban are being intimidated or detained for questioning. Women's rights have also continued to be curtailed, including in terms of their access to education beyond primary schooling.
In parallel, the country is experiencing its third consecutive year of drought, and the population faces a difficult socio-economic situation with widespread poverty, malnutrition, and a crumbling healthcare system. While the need for humanitarian assistance is on the rise, the UN's appeals for international funding are not being met.
EU Asylum situation for Afghan nationals
Between January and September 2023, Afghan nationals lodged around 86 000 asylum applications in EU+ countries, which is on par with the same period in 2022. In these first nine months, Afghan nationals were not only the 2nd largest group seeking international protection in the EU+; they also represented around one third of all unaccompanied minors. As of August 2023, monthly applications by Afghans have begun to rise above 11 000, up from between 7 000 and 9 500 in the months prior.
EU+ countries have issued approximately 64 000 first instance decisions on Afghan applications so far in 2023, with a recognition rate of 60 %; this is a 5 percentage points increase compared to the same period last year. In addition, over a fifth of all Afghan decisions in the EU+ resulted in national forms of protection. At the end of September, some 75 000 Afghan applications were pending at first instance.
The EUAA regularly updates its Country of Origin Information reports, which aim to provide accurate and reliable up-to-date information on third countries to support EU+ national asylum and migration authorities involved in migration and international protection procedures.
The report was prepared in accordance with the EUAA COI Report Methodology and was drafted by EUAA COI Sector's researchers. The report was reviewed by several COI Units in EU+ countries. This information is a crucial component when assessing individual protection needs and, separately, developing Country Guidance. The common analysis on Afghanistan as a Country of Origin, agreed with Member States' experts, enables the Agency to drive convergence in national asylum practices.
The report can be downloaded from: Afghanistan – Country Focus.
Any further information may be obtained from the European Union Agency for Asylum’s Press Office at the following email addresses: