KABUL – The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has reported that hundreds of individuals were forcefully evicted from a settlement in Kabul by Taliban forces. Tragically, two children lost their lives during this violent eviction.
The NRC received information from its teams on the ground, revealing that approximately 280 families were left without homes as a result of the demolition. The evicted families recounted the traumatic conditions they had to endure while evacuating. According to the NRC’s press release, bulldozers began destroying the camp early in the morning, leaving nothing behind by the end of the day.
In addition to the loss of lives, the sudden evictions have rendered the affected families helpless and unable to salvage their belongings from the wreckage. The families found themselves waiting on the streets with no knowledge of where to go. The NGO states that humanitarian agencies are currently blocked from accessing the site.
Neil Turner, the NRC country director in Afghanistan, has called on the country’s authorities to immediately cease any further evictions and uphold their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights laws, which safeguard the rights of Afghans against forced evictions. Turner expressed his concern over the plight of displaced families in Afghanistan, emphasizing that the authorities’ actions have only added to their enduring suffering.
Residents of nearby settlements have also reported receiving eviction notices, according to the NRC statement. In 2021, the Afghan authorities informed humanitarian agencies of their plans to repatriate internally displaced individuals to their areas of origin, resulting in the closure of these informal settlements across the country. This policy, if implemented, would impact approximately two million individuals residing in these settlements.
Turner further highlighted that internally displaced people residing in these settlements are already teetering on the edge of survival, grappling with the economic crisis. The evictions raise significant concerns that the humanitarian needs, which are already at an extreme level, will be further exacerbated.
The NRC has previously responded to two other separate incidents of evictions in Kabul in June and Badghis in December. As of December 2022, the total number of internally displaced people in Afghanistan stood at 6.6 million.
Following the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan after two decades of military intervention, Taliban forces regained control in late 2021. In the past two years, the Taliban authorities have enforced strict measures against the country’s residents, including cracking down on women working in NGOs and banning women’s beauty salons.