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an estimated 667,900 Afghans have been newly displaced inside the country since January 2021 – primarily due to insecurity and violence.


million are highly food insecure, thanks to a brutal drought, intense conflict during this year and the country’s economic collapse.


women and children make up 80 percent of all forcibly displaced within Afghanistan. 

About the Crisis in Afghanistan

After more than 40 years, Afghan refugees continue to make up one of the largest and most protracted displacement situations under UNHCR’s mandate. The prolonged nature of the crisis has prompted intensified efforts to support Afghan refugees and the host communities in Iran and Pakistan that have generously accommodated them for over four decades. 

Nearly 6 million Afghans have been driven out of their homes and their country by conflict, violence and poverty. The vast majority of refugees from Afghanistan are living in Pakistan and Iran, which continue to host more than 1.4 million and 780,000 registered Afghan refugees respectively.

In 2021, violence in Afghanistan intensified and spread through the country.  Since January 2021, more than 667,900 Afghans have been forcibly displaced. The impact of the conflict on women and girls has been particularly devastating – 80 percent of all forcibly displaced within Afghanistan are women and children. 

“Afghanistan’s displacement crisis is one of the largest and most protracted in UNHCR’s seven-decade history. We’re now seeing a third generation of Afghan children born in exile,’’ says UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.


UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Khaled Hosseini urges for support for displaced Afghan families

What is UNHCR doing to help in Afghanistan?

Despite challenging circumstances, the UN Refugee Agency is on the ground delivering lifesaving support to millions of displaced Afghans.

The needs of those who have had to flee suddenly are acute, increasing demand for shelter, food, water and health services. As part of the broader UN effort, UNHCR has helped assess the needs of almost 623,200 internally displaced civilians since the start of 2021.

Responding to the most critical priorities, UNHCR has provided food, shelter, cash, hygiene and sanitary kits and other lifesaving assistance together with partners. UNHCR has also undertaken protection monitoring covering 32 provinces in 2021.

UNHCR continues to work with authorities in some of the countries neighboring Afghanistan to plan and prepare for potential future movements of Afghan refugees.

Learn more about What We Do.


Stories from the crisis in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Refugee Crisis Explained

UNHCR warns Afghanistan’s conflict taking the heaviest toll on displaced women and children

See all stories about the Afghanistan refugee crisis >

Afghanistan Refugee Camps and Settlements

two afghan refugee children stand outside their shelter in Islamabad, an Afghan refugee settlement in Pakistan

Afghan refugee children stand outside their shelter in a
refugee settlement in Pakistan. 

  • Iran and Pakistan host nearly 90 percent of displaced Afghans - more than two million registered Afghan refugees in total.
  • Some 65 percent of the Afghan population – within and outside of Afghanistan – are children and young people.
  • In 2021, ongoing fighting has been reported in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Since the beginning of 2021, nearly 120,000 Afghans have fled from rural areas and provincial towns to Kabul province.

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