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CIAO Focus, April 2014: Update on Afghanistan
Afghanistan ranks 175th out of 187 countries in the 2012 Human Development Index. With an estimated population of close to 30 million and GDP at US$19.91 billion, Afghanistan is one of the least developed countries in the world and has an estimated 36 per cent of the population living below the poverty line. The vulnerability of the population affected by the crisis is extremely high, and there are a number of worrying signs about the trajectory of conflict:
The conflict more broadly has shifted to targeting civilians, particularly those with any affiliations to government, including police, politicians and senior officials, as well as human rights activists, elders and mullahs. All are viewed as legitimate targets by AOG.
Women and girls continue to be particularly vulnerable, with their freedom of movement increasingly restricted in AOG-controlled and highly unstable areas. Reported violence against women and girls is on the rise, with Afghan women officials and female human rights defenders particular targets. There are also reports of abuse of young boys which is likely underreported.
Afghan children continue to suffer, with children being killed and maimed by conflict-related violence. UNAMA continues to report incidences of children being recruited into armed forces and groups, as well as attacks against educational facilities.
Afghanistan continues to rank among the most violent contexts for aid operations. Aid workers in Afghanistan continue to face significant security risks. For example in August 2013, AOG gunmen shot dead six local staff working for an international NGO in Herat. At the start of December 2013 there had been 217 incidents against aid workers, with 29 deaths, 71 injuries and 111 abductions. While these figures highlight the general security risks, there are also parts of the country where NGOs can operate with an acceptable threshold of risk.
Criminality continues to increase, rising by 36 per cent in 2013, with a record opium crop and criminality further contributing to destabilisation. The number of security incidents in the 2013 eradication campaign was much greater, with AOG and farmers resistance resulting in 143 deaths and 93 injuries.
More than 112,000 people have become internally displaced by fighting or disasters in the first 10 months of 2013, bringing the total number of IDPs to just over 631,000 according to the UNHCR. Afghan government estimates are much higher, and IDP numbers are predicted to grow in 2014.
From the CIAO Database:
Outside Sources: *
After ’09 Fraud, Afghanistan Reports a Cleaner Election (New York Times)
Afghanistan election guide: everything you need to know (The Guardian)
Live Blog: Afghanistan Presidential Election 2014 (Radio Free Europe)
International Foundation for Electoral Systems
* Outside links are not maintained. For broken outside links, CIAO recommends the Way Back Machine.