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Afghanistan Flash Update | Displacement due to fighting in southern Afghanistan | 21 June 2021

Key Highlights

  • Heavy fighting continues in and around Nahr-e-Saraj District Administrative Centre (DAC) in Hilmand province, displacing families to neighbouring areas. 
  • Authorities have initially reported around 4,200 people had been displaced due to armed clashes and airstrikes in Nahr-e-Saraj district, although this is yet to be verified.
  • Partners are working to confirm the humanitarian impact of the situation, including humanitarian needs of those who have been displaced.

Situation Overview

Fighting that started on 17 June between the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and a Non-State Armed Group (NSAG) continues in Nahr-e-Saraj district of Hilmand Province, including several reported clashes in the Ab Pashak, Band-e-Barq, Parchaw, Old Prison, Deh Adam Khan and Musaqalah Adda areas. Military operations and airstrikes are ongoing in and around Nahr-e-Saraj district. The Kandahar-Hirat highway and the roads connecting Nahr-e-Saraj district to surrounding areas remain closed due to NSAG checkpoints and the presence of IEDs. People are unable to use these roads and are instead using alternative routes. Nahr-e-Saraj district is currently facing communication network interruptions with the limited coverage challenging the smooth flow of information. 

Anticipated Humanitarian Impact

The fighting has triggered the flight of local residents with local authorities initially estimating that 4,200 people have been displaced from Nahr-e-Saraj DAC to nearby villages within Nahr-e-Saraj district. Assessment teams have so far been unable to deploy to affected areas due to the presence of IEDs along the road and are yet to verify these numbers. According to initial reports, some families have also fled to Lashkargah, Hirat, Nimroz and Kandahar provinces and humanitarians are working to confirm this. Affected families have reportedly taken shelter with host families and relatives, are renting accommodation or are staying in open areas. Based on initial reports food, water, NFIs, shelter and WASH assistance are the most urgent needs. Initial reports indicate that civilian infrastructure and public resources have been damaged.

Coordination and Response

OCHA together with humanitarian partners – including Hilmand Operational Coordination Team (OCT) members – are closely monitoring the situation and hope to confirm the scale of displacement and needs as soon as possible. The OCT met on 20 June to discuss the security situation and assessments. As well as IEDs interrupting the deployment of assessment teams, partners have been unable to deliver emergency medical kits to Greshk District Hospital as the road is blocked in the Yakhchal area in Hilmand province along the Kandahar-Hirat highway.

The next flash update will be provided when further information is available.

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
Organization(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
21 Jun 2021
Document type: 
Situation Report
Theme(s): 
Internally Displaced People (IDPs)
Coordination hub(s): 
Southern Region