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AFGHANISTAN: Humanitarian Access Snapshot (AUGUST 2020)

Violence/Threats Against Humanitarian Personnel/Assets/Facilities
During the month of August, the HAG recorded 24 instances of violence/ threats against humanitarian staff or
personnel/ assets/ facilities compared to 26 such incidents recorded in July. NSAG-TB and ACG authored 11 and 10
incidents respectively. In seven instances, NSAG-TB issued threats and intimidations to humanitarian personnel,
including a warning that female staff members should not travel to NSAG-TB controlled areas in Takhar. This month
also saw another four abductions, with NSAG-TB authoring three of these incidents. This brings the total number of
abductions in 2020 to 36, compared to 14 during the same period in 2019.

Military Operations and Kinetic Activity
The 19 access impediments stemming from military operations and kinetic activity are indicative of a high pace
conflict environment, with similar high numbers only reported in April and May 2020. The HAG recorded at least 10
temporary closures of facilities or halt of programs, with another partner relocating their of programming. The
deteriorating security situation and ongoing fighting in Kandahar led to the closure of at least four health facilities in
Arghestan, Shawalikot and Spinboldak districts, which leaves around 75,000 beneficiaries with limited access to
health services. While most incidents did not directly target humanitarians, their impacts were nonetheless serious:
On 06 August, during an armed clash between NSAG-TB and ANSF in the western region, an NGO staff member
heading to his residence was fatally wounded in the crossfire, while in another incident on 10 August, an NGO run
hospital in Maidan Wardak caught fire after it was collaterally impacted during fighting between NSAG-TB and ANSF.

Interference in the implementation of humanitarian activities
In August, the HAG recorded 33 interference attempts in the implementation of humanitarian activities – the highest
monthly number this year. NSAG-TB continued to author most incidents (25), while four interference attempts were
authored by government officials, with community members and ANSF behind three and one incidents respectively.
Of most concern was a new trend of NSAG-TB demanding humanitarian partners for registration. The HAG is aware
of at least 10 partners who were contacted by NSAG-TB through WhatsApp with requests for registration. Slightly
different to these ‘non-specific’ WhatsApp messages, provincial NSAG-TB NGO focal points in the western and
northeastern regions directly reached out to partners and asked them for registration, in some cases asking for
submission of sensitive information like budget details. Partners unsure how to deal with such requests are
encouraged to reach out to the HAG directly.
In addition to health facilities temporarily closing due to ongoing fighting, NSAG-TB also actively impeded health
services in contested DACs. In Sherzad District, NSAG-TB ordered the closure of a NGO-run clinic, allegedly because
they were providing services in a government controlled area. Similarly, in Arghistan District, NSAG-TB requested
staff of a humanitarian partner not to attend their work until further notice – the health facility is equally located in a
government-controlled area.
GOA also authored four interferences in the implementation of humanitarian activities by attempting to interfere with
staff recruitment and the beneficiary selection process. Meanwhile, issues continue in Hirat and Khost with the
provincial department for economics requesting for MoUs for emergency projects, which is contrary to the NGO law.

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