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an estimated 777,400 Afghans were newly displaced inside the country by the end of 2021. 


million Afghans are in acute food insecurity; 9 million are at risk of famine. One million children are at risk of severe malnourishment. 


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. 

More than 6 million Afghans have been driven out of their homes and their country by conflict, violence and poverty. It is estimated that 85 percent of Afghan refugees are living in Pakistan and Iran, which continue to host more than 1.3 million and 780,000 registered Afghan refugees respectively.

In 2021, events leading up to the Taliban's takeover of Kabul in August exacerbated displacement throughout the country. For the 15th consecutive year in a row, internal displacement in Afghanistan increased with an additional 777,400 Afghans displaced across all provinces. 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. UNHCR has protected and supported the needs of nearly 1 million displaced Afghans 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 34 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 85 percent of displaced Afghans - more than 2.2 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 was reported in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. UNHCR has set up protection monitoring across 34 provinces in 2021 as part of the broader UN effort.

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