Taliban Conquests Trigger Internal Migrant Crisis in Afghanistan

Children from the Internally displaced Afghan families arriving from districts of Khan Abad, Ali Abad and Imam Sahib who fled due to the ongoing battles between Taliban and Afghan security forces, look on inside the premises of a school in Kunduz city on June 26, 2021. (Photo by STR / …
STR/AFP via Getty Images

The Taliban’s swift advance across Afghanistan has created an enormous refugee crisis as thousands of civilians are displaced from their homes by the brutal insurgency and humanitarian aid grows difficult to deliver.

Afghanistan’s Khaama Press on Monday found hundreds of refugees from the Taliban’s recent conquest of Kunduz province living homeless in a park in the national capital of Kabul, including children, the elderly, and people with visible combat injuries. There was a noticeable shortage of young and middle-aged men. The refugees said they did not know the fates of the fathers, husbands, and brothers left behind in Kunduz.

Other refugees have been displaced from Taliban advances in various provinces, and from combat zones where the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are fighting for control of cities like Kandahar.

Khaama Press noted that while the central government says the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) is “unprecedented,” the government is “yet to provide them with food and shelter.” Residents of Kabul and other cities receiving an influx of IDPs have been attempting to care for them.

The International Organization for Migrants (IOM) on Tuesday estimated over 5 million people have been internally displaced by the Taliban insurgency. With Afghanistan also suffering from another wave of Wuhan coronavirus infections and a severe drought, IOM said nearly half the population requires emergency relief assistance.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet on Tuesday denounced the Taliban for possible “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” including “deeply disturbing reports” of summary executions after government troops surrender, the beating and killing of civilian women, and escalating violence against children.

A spokeswoman for Bachelet said, “women are already being killed and shot for breaching rules,” the Taliban is wantonly seeding its captured territory with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and schools, homes, and medical clinics are being destroyed.

The Taliban is also creating a refugee crisis along Afghanistan’s borders, with surges of fleeing civilians reported by Iran and Turkey over the past week.

Both the Turkish government and opposition parties have been outspokenly hostile to taking in migrants from Afghanistan. Turkish officials argue their weak economy cannot handle a massive influx of impoverished civilians and accuse European countries of trying to saddle them with another refugee crisis after the decade-long Syrian civil war.

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