By: Suraya Raiszada
Afghanistan’s conflict has driven hundreds of thousands of people mostly children from their homes this year, prompting a huge need for humanitarian aid across the country, the U.N. has said.
According to the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 217,000 people had to flee their homes because of fighting during the first seven months of 2019. Of these people displaced by war, 58 percent were children under 18, OCHA said. The issue of internal displacement is being compounded by natural disasters including a historic drought, which last year forced about 245,000 people to move—and about 100,000 of them have not yet returned. OCHA “estimates that close to a million people on the move will need humanitarian assistance by the end of the year,” the agency said in a statement.
Afghanistan’s war, which has raged in one form or another for four decades, has pushed millions of people out of the country over that time. OCHA said that between January and July, 270,000 people had returned from Iran, which is in the grips of an economic crisis, and another 16,700 from Pakistan.
The U.S. and the Taliban are expected to announce a deal that would see a withdrawal of international forces, potentially prompting more conflict and displacement.
Meanwhile, officials for the state ministry of disaster management while expressing concern over continued war and increasing displacement of the people in the country say the national unity government is making effort to codify programs and plans in close coordination with UN relevant agencies to tackle the problem of displacement in the country.
Afghan political experts, in the meantime, believe that Afghanistan government should try its best to clear areas facing with increasing threats posed by armed opponent groups and pave the way for internally displaced people to return their homes.
“Unfortunately, the government of Afghanistan has no particular policy and program to address problems of the internally displaced people in the country,” said Mohammad Mudaqiq, an Afghan political expert.
He added that Afghan families have preferred to migrate and leave their homes due to increasing of insecurities, continued war and increasing presence of Daesh in the country, saying that the government should find a way to address security problems in areas facing with threats posed by insurgent groups.
Akbar Jawad, a lecturer for a private university in Kabul, says one of the principal needs of the internally displaced people is shelter which should be provided by the government.
“UN and other international organizations working in this regard should help the government of Afghanistan to address problems of the displaced people as they are facing with increasing challenges and need to be assisted,” Jawad added.
On the other hand, officials for the ministry of refugees and repatriates say Afghanistan government has prepared a policy for internally displaced people. Based on the policy, national and international organizations are working together to deliver humanitarian services to IDPs who are surveyed first and later introduced to be assisted.
It is worth mentioning that for the past few years, 1.5 million people have been displaced due to increasing of insecurities, drought and poverty, according to information issued by the government of Afghanistan.