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AFGHANISTAN: Humanitarian Access Snapshot (May 2021)

During the reporting period covering May 2021, the HAG recorded 161 access impediments, compared to 164 incidents recorded during April.[i] Taliban continued to author most incidents (123), followed by ACG and ANSF- perpetrated incidents. Movement Rrestrictions accounted for 38 per cent of all access impediments, followed by Military Operations and Kinetic Activity (33 per cent) and Violence/Threats Against Humanitarian Personnel/Assets/Facilities (12 per cent). A notable upsurge in kinetic activity by the Taliban significantly impacted on humanitarian movement and resulted in reduction of humanitarian and health services during a time when humanitarian needs increased due to conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical Environment and Lack of Infrastructure incidents doubled compared to last month, due to flash floods in the north and North-eastern regions as well as damage to public infrastructure (roads, bridges and telecommunication towers) by Taliban members aiming to disrupt ANSF movement and supplies.

Movement Restriction

In May, the HAG recorded 61 movement restrictions, with Taliban initiating 47 restrictions, while community members and ANSF authored 13 and one incident respectively.

More than half of the Taliban-perpetrated movement restrictions constituted checkpoints, where Taliban searched for ANSF and government officials and/or collected taxes from commercial trucks, mainly in the western, southeastern and northern provinces. In addition to these checkpoints, there was an upsurge in Taliban-coordinated attacks against ANSF movement and checkpoints along main highways (mainly in northern provinces), with the exchange of fire resulting in the temporary closure of roads and disrupting civilian movement.

In all 13 incidents authored by community members, peaceful demonstrations resulted in road closures. These protests did not directly impact humanitarian programs, but indirectly impacted humanitarian movement.

Military Operations and Kinetic Activity

During May, the HAG recorded at least 53 incidents of Military Operations and Kinetic Activity impacting humanitarian programs in all regions, compared to 36 in April. Taliban perpetrated 49, ISK two and ACG and ANSF one incident respectively. The increase in Military Operations and Kinetic Activities significantly impacted health and other humanitarian programs and movements. At least 22 interagency needs assessments, critical humanitarian visits, and health operations were either reduced or cancelled due to conflict activity. The HAG recorded at least five instances of health facilities being closed due to intensified conflict. This deprived at least 30,000 beneficiaries from basic and emergency health services in Kandahar, Hilmand and Maydan-Wardak provinces. In other ten incidents, health facilities sustained collateral damage during Taliban-initiated attacks against ANSF. In Maydan Wardak, an NGO run health facility was closed after Taliban took control of a DAC. During subsequent fighting, the clinic was destroyed. In another incident in Baghlan, AAF conducted at least two airstrikes targeting Taliban members seeking treatment in an NGO-run health facility. Two Taliban members were killed, and five NGO staff were wounded. The health facility sustained damages. These incidents highlight the continued need for engagement with parties to the conflict on IHL and respect of humanitarian spaces.

Violence/ Threat Against Humanitarian Personnel/ Assets/ Facilities

In May, the HAG logged 19 incidents of violence/threats, compared to 22 in April. Taliban perpetrated the highest number (eight), followed by ACG (six) and ANSF (four). Taliban continued to frighten and threaten humanitarians through abductions and the issuing of threat warnings. The Taliban often justify temporary abductions of humanitarians by accusing them of a lack of coordination. However, recent cases pointed towards a lack of communication between civilian and military Taliban representatives, with humanitarians abducted or becoming victims of aid diversions despite successfully negotiated access.

[i] In addition to the 117 incidents reported in the April snapshot, the HAG received late reports of an additional 47 incidents in May.


Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
16 Jun 2021
Map/Infographic Type: 
Humanitarian Snapshot
Coordination hub(s): 
National Level Coordination