The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan has put Afghans in danger, with women and girls bearing the brunt of the violence. More than 18 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) provides vital support to Afghans who have endured four decades of violent conflict, as well as natural disasters and the spread of COVID-19. We are also assisting Afghan refugees and Afghans who supported the U.S. mission in their country.
Get the latest from our teams on the situation in Afghanistan, the Afghan refugee crisis, and ways to support urgent humanitarian aid and refugee resettlement efforts.
Afghanistan crisis news
September 23, 2021
IRC launches emergency reponse in Kabul
The IRC has launched an emergency response in Afghanistan, commencing distribution of food and cash to displaced families.
A recent IRC assessment of over 4,000 families in Kabul revealed that 729 households - 4,387 individuals - were unable to access food and in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
September 22, 2021
Afghan parolees remain without resettlement services
As the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan evinces the need for responsive refugee resettlement efforts and following reports that President Biden will fulfill his commitment to set the annual refugee admissions ceiling at 125,000, the IRC calls on the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that ensures all Afghan evacuees are eligible for resettlement services and are provided a pathway to legal permanent residency.
September 14, 2021
Almost 4 million children in Afghanistan missing out on school
While instability continues to impact the lives and livelihoods of Afghanistan’s population, the IRC calls for world leaders to apply financial and diplomatic leverage to ensure Afghan girls can continue their education as the new government confirms that women and girls will be allowed to continue their studies.
September 13, 2021
David Miliband: Afghans must not pay twice for failures of the international community
As donors convene in Geneva to address the worsening crisis in Afghanistan, the IRC is calling for governments to urgently increase funding to the humanitarian appeal, and to ensure funds quickly reach frontline humanitarians.
Donors should also firmly commit to promoting and protecting humanitarian access for all aid workers, including women. With 18.4 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, significant displacement combined with rising levels of COVID-19 and acute food security needs, Afghans need urgent and life-saving assistance.
“Afghans must not pay twice over for failures of the international community: first for war and now for neglect. While international attention has been understandably focused on evacuations, 40 million Afghans remain in a country on the verge of a humanitarian meltdown.”
- IRC president and CEO David Miliband
September 1, 2021
IRC supports Afghan evacuees in Mexico
The IRC has launched a rapid emergency response in Mexico to support 175 Afghan evacuees who arrived on August 31, as well as other Afghans who will be arriving in the country.
We are welcoming individuals and families at the airport and providing COVID-19 testing, emergency medical attention as needed, and legal assistance to obtain the Mexican humanitarian visa, as well as facilitating accommodation and transportation. We’re also providing food and bottled water, and basic supplies including face masks and hand sanitizer, toothbrushes and soap, and diapers and other infant care items.
“Mexico has a long history of welcoming evacuees and asylum seekers when conflict has hit the hardest; we recognize the efforts by Mexican authorities to respond during these uncertain times for Afghan citizens."
- Raymundo Tamayo, IRC country director for Mexico
August 31, 2021
What next for refugees who left Afghanistan?
Inside the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process
As many as 20,000 Afghans who worked with US military & 53,000 of their family members may be eligible for special immigrant visas.— IRC - International Rescue Committee (@RESCUEorg) August 31, 2021
“This process certainly should have started earlier," said IRC senior director of refugee & asylum policy @JCHendrickson. https://t.co/VFww7ImUf0
The Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program allows Afghans who assisted the US military to resettle in the US. ~75,000-100,000 Afghans are eligible under this program, but operational flaws may severely hamper the potential for Afghans to obtain refuge. More: https://t.co/cAYweXqgRe— IRC - International Rescue Committee (@RESCUEorg) August 28, 2021
August 30, 2021
Afghans resettle in the U.S.
Since late July, 2,000+ Afghans have been flown to a US government facility in Virginia, and thousands more are expected. IRC senior VP of resettlement & integration Jennifer Sime said the goal is to resettle Afghan arrivals “as quickly as possible." More: https://t.co/16rSUumxaZ— IRC - International Rescue Committee (@RESCUEorg) August 30, 2021
August 26, 2021
Deadly attacks in Kabul
“Today’s attacks on Kabul airport signifies a new level of danger in Afghanistan. We are horrified by the deaths and mayhem and offer the sincerest condolences to the bereaved families. We reiterate our urgent call for support for at-risk Afghans, alongside diplomatic and humanitarian engagement in support of efforts to assist the population. The 31st August has been set as a deadline for the U.S. military effort; it cannot cannot be the deadline for seeking to help Afghans, whether they are seeking to leave or are staying in the country.
- David Miliband, IRC president and CEO
We deplore the violence outside #Kabul airport, including American & Afghan casualties in suicide bomb attacks. We offer sincere condolences to the bereaved families & call for world leaders do all they can to support Afghans in danger & in need of aid. https://t.co/f6pfnpFbIO— IRC - International Rescue Committee (@RESCUEorg) August 26, 2021
An "invisible crisis" for Afghan women and girls
The IRC warns of an invisible crisis in Afghanistan, as 50% of those in need of humanitarian assistance are women and girls. An aid shortfall means they stand to lose out on urgently needed services. With uncertainty mounting throughout Afghanistan, the IRC is concerned that we could see increases in violence against women and child marriage.
“If our teams are to reach women and girls within communities, the role of women aid workers is critical. Without women working in the humanitarian response in Afghanistan, aid organizations are unable to create safe spaces where the needs of women and girls can be met."
- Elinor Raikes, IRC vice president and head of program delivery
August 25, 2021
What is happening to women in Afghanistan?
The recent transfer of power from the former Afghan government has caused immense uncertainty across Afghanistan. The IRC is particularly concerned about the situation for women and girls. Women’s rights must be respected.
Evacuation deadline nears: What the U.S. must do
The IRC is calling on the Biden Administration to welcome Afghans forced to flee as well as commit to humanitarian funding for those remaining in Afghanistan.
IRC assists Afghans arriving in Uganda
"The IRC is proud to be complementing the efforts of the Government of Uganda and US embassy to receive and support 51 Afghan evacuees that arrived in Uganda at 7.53am this morning. The IRC will be supporting the Afghan evacuees with reception, accomodation, health care and general welfare services during their temporary stay in Uganda."
- Elijah Okeyo, IRC country director in Uganda
Press release: IRC in Uganda supporting newly arrived Afghan evacuees
G7 Afghanistan aid pledges fall far short of urgent needs
Aid pledges made in an emergency meeting of G7 leaders on August 24 will not come close to meeting the needs of the 18.4 million Afghans already critically dependent on aid. The World Food Program has warned that core food supplies could run out by October, as acute hunger is rising across the country.
The current pledges from the G7 yesterday falls far short of addressing the scale of need in the country. As it stands the UN’s humanitarian response remains only 38% funded. Military withdrawal must not be followed by a humanitarian or diplomatic one.
- David Miliband, IRC president and CEO
IRC-UK press release: IRC statement on G7 Emergency Summit on Afghanistan
August 24, 2021
Afghanistan emergency briefing from IRC staff
August 23, 2021
Number of displaced Afghans jumps 53% in two weeks
- As violence increases throughout Afghanistan, more and more people are abandoning their homes to seek safety.
- Internal displacement in Afghanistan has soared by 53% since the start of August, from 360,000 to 550,000 people.
- In Kabul alone, some 17,600 internally displaced people are acutely in need of food, water, health care and other aid.
- Last year, the IRC reached 1 million Afghans with vital services. We are committed to remaining in Afghanistan and continuing to deliver support.
“There is a double crisis facing Afghanistan right now: a visible crisis, of thousands of people trying to leave the country from Kabul. And an invisible crisis of millions of people across the country dependent on humanitarian aid, who cannot leave the country.
- David Miliband, IRC president and CEO
August 20, 2021
Massive increase in U.S. aid needed to help Afghans
- Humanitarian needs in Afghanistan were already some of the largest in the world at the start of the year, when the IRC ranked Afghanistan second on our Watchlist 2021.
- 18.4 million people in Afghanistan require humanitarian assistance—a doubling since last year. Half the country is in need of aid, and the situation is worsening.
- 75% of those in need are women and children. Drought and insufficient access to food are major issues.
- The humanitarian response is a lifeline for millions. Maintaining a sufficient humanitarian response requires the U.S. to lead the way and rally others to lead, too.
Statement from IRC president and CEO David Miliband: Massive increase in emergency U.S. government humanitarian funding needed for inside Afghanistan
August 17, 2021
IRC appeals for emergency funding in Afghanistan
- The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan continues to rapidly deteriorate as the situation in Kabul and the future of the country remains uncertain.
- The IRC is committed to staying and delivering urgent humanitarian aid. Without immediate action, 2021 will be the deadliest year of conflict for Afghans in over a decade.
- The severity of the situation brings new urgency to ensure all Afghans in need of aid can be reached, but the humanitarian response remains just 38% funded.
- The IRC is working to raise $10 million to ensure our teams can continue to deliver lifesaving aid across Afghanistan.
Statement from Bob Kitchen, IRC vice president for emergencies: IRC launches $10 million appeal for emergency funding in Afghanistan