Operation: Opération: Afghanistan



Latest update of camps and office locations: October 2017. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

Key Figures

2018 planning figures
60% of returnees aged 15-24 will be enrolled in certified livelihoods training
200,000 returnees will receiving multipurpose cash grants 
30,100 refugee and IDP households will receive core-relief items 
2016 end-year results
372,000 refugee returnees received cash grants to help address their immediate humanitarian needs
219,000 individuals (refugee returnees, IDPs and host community) facing harsh winter conditions, received winterization assistance 
59,000 people of concern benefited from community-based interventions
5,000 people with specific needs received assistance  

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2016 2,355,622
2015 1,767,291
2014 1,324,996


[["Refugees",59771],["Asylum-seekers",128],["IDPs",1797551],["Returned refugees",383951],["Others of concern",114221]]
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2016 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[131.37522619,151.97085579,150.64388639,259.233864759,137.62688892,125.83413416],"expenditure":[63.92581611,64.25946191,70.35477096,197.82190746,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[38.23178704,58.44455712,66.83857405,187.89448891,79.92368384,35.93320161],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[65.79076549,60.08470407,56.92509855,42.006523619,39.77442109,71.23354029],"p4":[27.35267366,33.4415946,26.88021379,29.33285223,17.92878399,18.66739226]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[18.32759334,25.27108431,42.22418797,174.62465414,null,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[30.54190771,24.42136004,17.78314669,12.48364936,null,null],"p4":[15.05631506,14.56701756,10.3474363,10.71360396,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

​Working environment

2016 saw the highest number of civilian casualties recorded in the conflict in Afghanistan since 2009. Children were particularly affected by the conflict. As a result of growing insecurity, internal displacement increased dramatically. More than 650,000 people were newly displaced throughout the year. However, there was a significant decrease in the number of Afghans making the journey to Europe. Afghans accounted for 10 per cent of those crossing the Mediterranean Sea in 2016 as compared to 21 per cent in 2015. Many were young men and unaccompanied children. 
In the second half of 2016, there was a sudden surge in the number of Afghan refugees returning from Pakistan. Some 370,000 Afghan refugees returned from Pakistan, compared to some 55,000 in 2015, marking a ten-year high. The massive increase of returns from Pakistan was due to a combination of complex factors. UNHCR post-return monitoring showed that returnees face many reintegration challenges, including lack of land, shelter and livelihood opportunities.
To respond to these challenges and to ensure that returns are sustainable, the Government of Afghanistan established the Displacement and Returnee Executive Committee (DiREC) and adopted the policy framework for returnees and internally displaced people (IDPs) that focuses on protection and sustainable solutions for the displaced. UNHCR was actively engaged in this process. Moreover, the Government included the needs of returnees and displaced people into the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework and key national priority programmes which offer access to reintegration opportunities.
The Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, held in October 2016, recognized that support for development in Afghanistan is key in making returns sustainable. Donors also recognized that the government-led programmes will benefit all Afghans, including displaced populations.  

Population trends

  • In 2016 some 372,000 Afghan refugees returned, of which 370,000 returned from Pakistan.
  • Close to 653,000 people were newly displaced throughout the year.
  • The number of refugees who fled military operations in North Waziristan was revised from an estimated 200,000 to 125,000, as a result of biometric registration and verification.

Achievements and impact

  • UNHCR advocacy led to the inclusion of the needs of returnees and displaced people in the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework, key national priority programmes and policies offering access to reintegration opportunities.
  • UNHCR’s operational strategy was adjusted to the increasingly insecure environment including building resilience, providing  interim solutions through strengthened support to people with specific needs, community-based quick impact projects, targeted livelihoods, and area-based solutions aiming at a longer-term integration of communities in protracted displacement and returnees with the participation of central and local governments and communities.  
  • The returnee monitoring system was enhanced using innovative approach through mobile phones to reach out to returneesin insecure environment. It offered a wider outreach to returnees and allows better representation, understanding of and response to protection risks and reintegration challenges in a complex environment.
  • UNHCR co-led the protection and emergency shelter/non-food items clusters.

Unmet needs

  • The needs of protracted IDPs continued to be largely unmet in 2016.
  • The sustainable reintegration of returnees remained a challenge.
  • Insecurity contributed to lack of humanitarian access to displaced populations and the provision of assistance. 


The Afghan National Unity Government has made a strong commitment to supporting returns and reintegration of refugees in the context of the “transformation decade”. In 2016, the Office will continue to support the Government to implement the comprehensive plan to facilitate the return of Afghan refugees in safety and dignity and their sustainable reintegration, within the framework of the national development strategy and priority programmes. Representing 20 per cent of Afghanistan’s population, returnees remain a key population of concern to UNHCR.    
In cooperation with the authorities, UNHCR will also pursue community-based, solutions-oriented interventions for the most vulnerable displaced families from Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency. Their gradual voluntary repatriation is anticipated to start in 2016, in alignment with the Government of Pakistan’s programme for the return of internally displaced people (IDPs) to North Waziristan.
Internal displacement in Afghanistan is expected to continue, reflecting the overall security situation in the country. UNHCR will continue to work with the authorities to implement the national IDP policy, although operational challenges remain, and to lead the inter-agency protection and shelter clusters for this response.  
Insecurity is expected to continue to hamper humanitarian access. Critical funding gaps in the areas of shelter, core relief items, livelihoods, and response to sexual and gender-based violence are likely to remain a challenge, jeopardizing the sustainability of reintegration of returnees, as well as the protection of refugees and IDPs, thus impacting the stabilization of the population in Afghanistan.