Kabul: Statistics from the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations show that in the last 15 days alone, more than 14,000 families have fled their homes due to the war and moved to safer areas. According to the ministry, most of the displaced were from Kunduz, Baghlan, Takhar, Jawzjan, Helmand, Laghman, Paktia and Ghazni provinces. The Ministry of Refugees states that the Ministry has provided food and non-food assistance packages to displaced families and addressed their problems. As the Taliban escalates and the situation worsens, the US government is considering a $100 million aid package to address the situation of the displaced.
Although many families have fled their homes in recent years due to the war, the problem has increased since the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. The Taliban intensified their attacks and took control of some districts as foreign troops began withdrawing in May this year. As the Taliban took control and the fighting intensified in different parts of the country, people migrated and left their homes. The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations says that since the beginning of the month, more than 72,000 families have left their home areas and settled in relatively safe places. Reza Baher, the ministry’s deputy spokesman, told Hashte Subh daily that the number of displaced people had increased over the past two months.
He states that in the last one month alone, 19,000 families have been displaced, of which 14,000 have left their homes in the last 15 days. The deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations said most of those displaced were from Kunduz, Jawzjan, Nangarhar, Laghman, Paktika, Farah, Helmand and Ghazni provinces. Baher added that with the Taliban taking control of the area, people had fled their homes and taken refuge in government-controlled areas.
According to him, in the last one month alone, 3,511 families in Kunduz, 2,353 families in Uruzgan, 2,082 families in Jawzjan, 1,882 families in Nangarhar, 1,670 families in Laghman, 1,400 families have been displaced in Paktika, 1,094 families in Farah, 945 families in Helmand and 765 families in Ghazni. The people of Ghazni, however, have provided the media with larger statistics on the displaced. In the past two weeks alone, 3,000 families have reportedly been displaced from Malistan district to Ghazni and Kabul cities. Malistan residents told a news conference in Kabul two days ago that the Taliban had harassed people and stormed a number of people as soon as they entered the district. Residents of the district stated that with this approach of the Taliban, people were forced to migrate and about 3,000 families left their areas. Residents of Malistan called on the war-torn parties to provide as soon as possible for the return of the displaced and the opportunity to harvest the people’s crops so that life can return to normal. They also called on charities to address the plight of IDPs in the district.
However, Reza Baher says the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations has provided assistance to more than 51,000 families this year. According to him, the aid included food and non-food packages. According to him, cash was distributed in places where it was not possible to transport food due to the war. The amount of money distributed to war refugees varied. Baher emphasizes that the cash donation was between 7,000 and 22,000 afghanis. It should be noted that these aids are distributed based on the needs of families. The Deputy Spokesman for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations also states that this year, IDPs have taken refuge in places where they felt safe, regardless of their type or occupation. According to the ministry, war refugees were previously housed in large cities such as Kabul, Herat and Balkh, where more jobs are available.
Meanwhile, Turkey on Monday criticized Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz’s remarks that Turkey is a “more suitable place” for Afghan refugees. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement that they read his statement with “astonishment.” “First of all, Turkey is not a country neighboring Afghanistan, as Chancellor Kurz stated,” the statement said.
“Instead of emphasizing joint efforts and cooperation to solve the problem of irregular migration, which affects the whole world and is a common issue for everyone, the attitude that ‘migrants should not come here, go elsewhere’ is both selfish and unhelpful,” it added. Emphasizing that “Turkey will not take in a new wave of migration,” the statement added: “We convey this stance to our interlocutors on every occasion and at every level, emphasizing that Turkey will not be a border guard or a refugee camp of the EU.”
In an interview with the German newspaper, Bild am Sonntag, Kurz said Turkey is “a more suitable place” for Afghan refugees than Germany, Austria, or Sweden.
In other news, Ziaulhaq Amarkhil, governor of Nangarhar, clarified on Monday night that the bodies of 39 Pakistani militants were handed over to the Afghan Red Crescent Society and not the ICRC. This comes even as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued a statement saying that their teams have not received any such request from any party to the conflict, and therefore were not involved in any transfer.
“In Afghanistan, ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) are supporting all parties to the conflict to fulfill their obligations towards the deceased and their families. The ICRC and the ARCS are temporarily substituting for the parties to the conflict, which cannot fully accomplish these obligations due to security risks, passing of front lines, and at times parties are simply overwhelmed with increasing numbers and complexity of evacuations. The support includes the dignified return and transfer of mortal remains of fighters and civilians to their families and authorized representatives. It is important to note that this program is exclusively implemented within the borders of Afghanistan. During the first six months of 2021, the ICRC and the ARCS returned and transferred the mortal remains of 2,449 fighters and civilians to their families. International Humanitarian Law (IHL) foresees that the mortal remains of persons who have lost their lives in relation to the armed conflict must be respected. Respect is not only for the dignity of the dead but also respect towards the family and the community of the deceased. The families have the right to know the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones and to mourn those who died. The Human Remains Transfer Program (HRTP) of the ICRC is focused on ensuring that respect and on assisting the parties to the conflict to fulfill their obligations towards the deceased and their families,” the statement read.
On the other hand, as the night curfew begins in the city of Herat, the people of Herat have called this plan “ill-considered and wrong” and insist that it is impossible to implement it in big cities like Herat. Members of Herat Provincial Council also believe that the imposition of night curfew has a negative effect on the morale of the people and causes them to distrust the ability of the security forces. The Herat Police says that according to the order of the Provincial Military Council, the plan to restrict the night movement has been implemented since Sunday night. The Herat local administration also emphasizes that the “implementation phase” of the plan has already been announced and that security forces are required to implement it.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) recently announced the implementation of restrictions on night in 31 provinces, including Herat. Accordingly, public traffic is prohibited from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am. The Afghan government has said the plan is aimed at preventing the Taliban from infiltrating cities. The ministry began restricting night curfew in all provinces except Kabul, Panjshir and Nangarhar on Sunday. Accordingly, night curfew has been imposed in 31 provinces of the country, including large cities such as Herat, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif.
Ahmad Zia Zia, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, told Hashte Subh daily that the restrictions were imposed to ensure the safety of citizens, prevent civilian casualties and thwart the Taliban overnight. He added that the restrictions have been imposed temporarily. The Ministry of Interior has asked the citizens of the country to cooperate with the police in enforcing the night patrol. But, residents of Herat have sharply criticized the implementation of the plan, calling it unwise and impractical.
Ahmad Karkhi, a member of the Herat Provincial Council, believes that the night curfew plan shows the extreme weakness and inability of senior security officials, and that security forces should provide security through routes that feel “enemy” enters Herat. Jilani Farhad, spokesman for the governor of Herat, told Hashte Subh daily that the night curfew implementation was carried out under the direction of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces to ensure the safety of citizens, and that the aim was to prevent the enemy from abusing and infiltrating. The spokesperson for the governor of Herat, in response to public criticism of the curfew and plan, said, “order has been sent through the central administration and the Herat Military Council has discussed how to implement it, and we consider ourselves obliged to implement this plan.