The recent transfer of power from the former Afghan government has caused immense uncertainty across Afghanistan

Civilian casualties reached record levels in the first half of 2021 as violence intensified. Conflict and a collapsing economy have forced people from their homes and created a growing hunger crisis in the country. There are around 5.5 million displaced people inside Afghanistan; 681,300 of these have been displaced this year alone.

Afghanistan has already produced the second-largest displaced population in the world, after Syria, and this number is expected to rise exponentially.

“The latest violence should be cause for great alarm,” says Vicki Aken, Afghanistan director for the International Rescue Committee (IRC). "Hundreds of thousands of people have already been internally displaced due to conflict as well as drought.”

Man sits in the doorway with his two children
Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been displaced inside their country due to conflict and drought.

Photo: Stefanie Glinski/IRC

“We are on pace for record civilian deaths and injuries, with the majority being women and children. Schools are closed, food shortages abound, and people are turning to desperate measures such as child labor and early marriage for girls.”

24 million people in Afghanistan are in dire need of humanitarian assistance—a situation that is only worsening as the conflict intensifies. The crisis ranks number one on the IRC’s 2022 Emergency Watchlist, a global list of humanitarian crises that are expected to deteriorate the most over the coming year.

“Humanitarian organisations like the IRC are committed to remaining in Afghanistan and continuing to deliver support to its population,” says Aken. “It is vital that world leaders do the same.”

What needs to be done to help Afghans?

World leaders must ensure aid organisations have access to deliver lifesaving support to people who need it. They must advocate for an immediate ceasefire and support a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

A young girl stands behind cooking pots and pans. Two boys stand in the doorway of a temporary shelter behind her.
24 million people in Afghanistan need urgent humanitarian assistance—a situation that is only worsening as the conflict intensifies.

Photo: Stefanie Glinski/IRC

“Afghanistan needs sustained aid and diplomatic support from both Western and regional powers,” says Aken.  "Without this, there is little chance that needs will be met and peace will be found.”

In addition, these leaders must welcome Afghan refugees to resettle in their countries for a chance to rebuild their lives.

How is the IRC helping Afghans?

The IRC has been working in Afghanistan since 1988. With over 1,700 staff and volunteers, we reach more than a million Afghans each year with education, protection, water and sanitation, emergency response, and economic recovery services.

IRC female health staff teaches children in the classroom the correct way to wear a mask.
The 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.

Photo: IRC

The IRC is also helping to welcome Afghan refugees to resettle in the U.K. through the IRC’s Refugee Integration in the South East.

How can I help?

More than half of Afghanistan's population are facing acute hunger this winter. The IRC are members of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) who have launched an emergency appeal to combat widespread hunger in Afghanistan. When emergencies hit, the DEC brings together leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently. We are proud to join this effort to ensure that people impacted by disasters are able to survive, recover, and rebuild their lives.