"In a context struggling with deepening insecurity, economic fragility, and political uncertainty such as Afghanistan, protracted displacement strains the already thinly stretched and often poor-quality public services even further, intensifying competition for scarce livelihood opportunities."
A new scoping report by Peace Training Research Organization - PTRO, supported by the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation reviews the realities internally displaced people, and their host communities find themselves in - in Herat, Nangarhar, and Takhar. It helps us to understand the experience of being displaced, the dynamics between host and displaced communities, and vulnerable groups' experiences, specifically women and youth.
For four decades, Afghanistan confronts one of the world’s most protracted and complex population displacement challenges. In 2019, 578,000 Afghans were displaced from their homes due to conflict, violence, or disaster. A further 490,000 Afghans returned from abroad under distressing circumstances, who continued to live a life of displacement even after returning home. They were either unwilling or unable to return to their place of origin or, after returning, forced to leave their home district again due to a lack of opportunities or insecurity.
At the end of 2019, an estimated 4.2 million Afghans were considered internally displaced persons (IDPs). The protracted displacement crisis affects not only displaced people but the communities that receive them. In a context struggling with deepening insecurity, economic fragility, and political uncertainty such as Afghanistan, protracted displacement strains the already thinly stretched and often poor-quality public services even further, intensifying competition for scarce livelihood opportunities.
Furthermore, displacement produces new yet fluid and disjointed communities of new migrants, old migrants, and host communities, requiring both displaced and host community members to negotiate a new environment with new groups of people. Therefore, both national and international policymakers have struggled to grasp the fluidity and extent of forced internal migration amidst a prolonged armed conflict. Their response to the growing crisis has been hindered by a lack of data and coordination problems.
This report provides an in-depth review of the realities and impact of the internally displaced people and their host communities in Herat, Nangarhar, and Takhar provinces, which have the highest numbers of displaced people. The report focuses on three areas: understanding the experience of being displaced, the dynamics between host populations and displaced communities, and vulnerable groups’ experiences, specifically women and youth.
The research for the study was carried out over five months from October 2019 to January 2020. The findings are based on data collected from surveys, interviews, and focus groups conducted with IDPs, returnees, host communities, local officials, and aid workers in Herat, Nangarhar, and Takhar, key informant interviews with policymakers and international aid workers in Kabul. The research team adopted a bottom-up approach and used community-based and participatory research methods to better understanding these dynamics. Therefore, while policymakers and aid workers were included in the study, the bulk of the report focuses on the communities’ perspectives and experience.