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AFGHANISTAN: Humanitarian Access Snapshot (OCTOBER 2020)

In October 2020, the HAG recorded 94 incidents impacting access for humanitarians, compared to 122 incidents in September, highlighting a protraction of access challenges for the humanitarian community. Most access constraints stemmed from military operations and kinetic activities (36), a notable increase compared to the 20 incidents logged in September. Moreover, 22 interferences in the implementation of humanitarian activities were recorded, compared to 41 interferences recorded in September. With incidents often being reported late, it is too early to speak of a significant decrease compared to the previous month. Levy requests remained an issue, with partners reporting five such requests, thereby raising the total number of levy requests this year to 40, compared to 20 during the same period in 2019.

Military Operations and Kinetic Activity – Focus on Southern Region

Half of the 36 incidents stemming from military operations recorded this month occurred in Kandahar and Hilmand provinces, where heavy clashes between ANSF and NSAG-TB continued throughout October. Between 16 to 30 October, NSAG-TB coordinated multiple attacks against ANSF checkpoints in Lashkargah, Nad-e-ali, Nawa, Marja districts in Hilmand Province and Arghandab, Maywand, Zheri and Panjwai districts of Kandahar. ANSF responded with ground operations and airstrikes. The fighting resulted in significant civilian displacement to Lashkargah and Kandahar cities, with civilians also displaced to NSAG-TB controlled areas. While interagency teams managed to assess and respond to displaced population in Lashkargah and Kandahar cities, humanitarians struggled to attend to those displaced to NSAG-TB due to continued fighting as well as heavy IED presence along the roads. Conflict activity further resulted in the closure of at least 20 health facilities, depriving nearly 100’000 people from access to health services. In at least two cases, ANSF members occupied health facilities in Hilmand and used it as a fighting position, with partners reporting of another two incidents, where their health facilities were looted during the closure.

Interference in the implementation of humanitarian activities

NSAG-TB authored 20 of the 22 interference attempts in the implementation of humanitarian activities recorded in October, with community members and GOA authoring one interference each. Health partners remained particularly vulnerable to pressure from NSAG-TB, with the HAG recording 10 instances of NSAG-TB interfering with health activities, including requests to provide additional ambulances, supply more medicine and upgrade equipment. NSAG-TB continued to use the closure of health facilities to pressure partners unwilling to agree to these demands. In six instances, NSAG-TB members reached out to humanitarian partners with requests to share more information about their activities, including in some cases sensitive data like budget details and beneficiary lists, with all incidents resulting in a temporary suspension of activities while negotiations were ongoing. At the time of reporting, two projects resumed, while the others remain suspended.

Violence/Threats Against Humanitarian Personnel/Assets/Facilities

During October, the HAG recorded 13 instances of violence/threats against humanitarian staff or personnel/assets/facilities compared to 34 such incidents in September. NSAG-TB and ACGs authored eight and five incidents respectively. In five instances NSAG-TB abducted humanitarian staff for reasons including the refusal to treat wounded NSAG-TB members, alleged affiliation with the GOA and operating in NSAG-TB areas without prior notification. The five ACG authored incidents related to robberies of humanitarian staff, with four incidents occurring in Hirat, highlighting an increase in crime in the city. For October, the HAG did not record any ACG related incident in Kabul City. While crime is generally underreported, this decrease is nonetheless interesting and might be linked to the Second Vice President taking charge of eliminating criminality in Kabul City.

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
17 Nov 2020
Map/Infographic Type: 
Humanitarian Snapshot
Coordination hub(s): 
National Level Coordination