Afghan conflict displacing hundreds of thousands

Published August 16, 2019
Afghanistan’s conflict has driven hundreds of thousands of people — most of them children — from their homes this year, prompting a huge need for humanitarian aid across the war-torn nation, the UN said on Thursday. — AP/File
Afghanistan’s conflict has driven hundreds of thousands of people — most of them children — from their homes this year, prompting a huge need for humanitarian aid across the war-torn nation, the UN said on Thursday. — AP/File

KABUL: Afghanistan’s conflict has driven hundreds of thousands of people — most of them children — from their homes this year, prompting a huge need for humanitarian aid across the war-torn nation, the UN said on Thursday.

According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 217,000 people had to flee their homes because of fighting during the first seven months of 2019.

Of these people displaced by war, 58 per cent were children under 18, OCHA said.

The issue of internal displacement is being compounded by natural disasters including a historic drought, which last year forced about 245,000 people to move -- and about 100,000 of them have not yet returned.

OCHA “estimates that close to a million people on the move will need humanitarian assistance by the end of the year”, the agency said in a statement.

Afghanistan’s war, which has raged in one form or another for four decades, has pushed millions of people out of the country over that time.

OCHA said that between January and July, 270,000 people had returned from Iran, which is in the grips of an economic crisis, and another 16,700 from Pakistan.

The US and the Taliban are expected to announce a deal that would see a withdrawal of international forces, potentially prompting more conflict and displacement.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2019

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