The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan has put Afghans in danger, with women and girls bearing the brunt of the crisis. More than 24 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
January 11, 2022
Millions of Afghans pushed to brink of famine
The IRC warns of growing humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan as economic freefall pushes 9 million people to the brink of famine. IRC health clinics in the country have seen thirty-fold increase in acutely malnourished children in one month alone.
The international community must find a solution that puts food, medicine and cash in the hands of Afghans as United Nations raises the 2022 Afghan humanitarian appeal to $5 billion.
“As winter draws on and a dramatic economic collapse continues to unfold, families are being forced to make difficult decisions to ensure their survival. Food reportedly constitutes more than 82% of an average household income, and child marriage and child labor are increasingly seen across the country as families resort to desperate coping mechanisms to feed their families. As the economic crisis deepens, food prices rise and crops fail, humanitarian suffering will rise to unfathomable levels."
- Vicki Aken, IRC country director for Afghanistan
Artists and aid groups tell world leaders: #AfghansCantWait
Sanctions against the Taliban have sent Afghanistan's economy spiraling downward: Afghan families cannot access cash to pay for food, medicine or other basic items. If the world doesn’t act, more than 100,000 Afghan children could die this year.
Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation and musician Tom Morello are joining other artists and the IRC, along with eight other aid groups, to call on the United States and global leaders to take urgent action for Afghans.
December 30, 2021
Afghans faced a year of crisis with resilience and generosity
Afghans have experienced a year of extreme upheaval. After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August, hundreds of thousands fled their homes, and those evacuated from the capital Kabul were welcomed by countries including Mexico, Uganda and the United States. The majority who remained now find themselves plunged into an ever deeper humanitarian crisis. Afghans both inside the country and far from home are doing their best to endure—and ensure others have what they need to survive and rebuild.
December 22, 2021
Humanitarian exception to sanctions on the Taliban critical for Afghans in need
The IRC welcomes today’s move by the UN Security Council to provide a humanitarian exception in the Taliban sanctions regime, but argues more needs to be done urgently to alleviate suffering and avoid economic collapse in Afghanistan.
December 15, 2021
Afghanistan tops 2022 crisis list
The IRC’s Emergency Watchlist, released today, ranks Afghanistan as the country most at risk of worsening humanitarian crisis in 2022. Amid sanctions on the Taliban, the country could see near universal poverty in 2022 with 97% of Afghans at risk.
"The health care system is on the brink of collapse; most Afghans can’t afford to feed themselves or their families, and, with millions marching towards famine, I am desperately concerned for the people of my country,” says Awesta, an emergency support officer for the IRC's cash distribution program.
- See the top 10 crisis countries.
- Read the full report with a list of all 20 countries.
- Learn how the IRC selected these crises.
December 10, 2021
Winter bears down on Afghanistan
Winter weather in Afghanistan will make it more difficult for people to find food and basic necessities, compounding a decades-long humanitarian crisis worsened by the recent transfer of power in the country.
Women and girls increasingly bear the brunt of violence and of a growing hunger crisis.
December 7, 2021
IRC Afghanistan response on 60 Minutes
60 Minutes recently visited IRC programs in Afghanistan, where we are providing cash support to help families displaced by conflict through a harsh winter. Watch on Sunday, Dec. 12, 7:30 pm ET/7pm PT on CBS and Paramount+.
November 9, 2021
Hunger crisis builds in Afghanistan
The IRC is witnessing firsthand the food crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. Nearly all clients who have attended IRC-run health clinics in recent weeks have been women bringing malnourished children for urgent help. With almost 23 million Afghans at famine’s door, and 1 million children at risk of dying without immediate lifesaving treatment, urgent action is needed to avert a predictable and preventable humanitarian crisis.
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.
Read our Sep. 23 statement.
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.
Read our Sep. 22 statement
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 an aid shortfall means women and girls 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