This country guidance is currently under review. In view of the recent significant changes, notably the Taliban takeover, assessments within this document may no longer be valid. When examining the international protection needs of applicants from Afghanistan, please consider the most up-to-date country of origin information available.
This profile refers to persons who are perceived as not conforming to social norms because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, including the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) individuals. However, it should be noted that specific information on some of those communities was not available in the COI reports used for the purpose of this guidance.
In Afghan society, sexuality is not a concept that is discussed. Therefore, little information can be obtained about LGBTIQ individuals and their position in society [Society-based targeting, 4].
For issues related to the practice of bacha bazi, which is not considered homosexuality in Afghan society, please see the specific subsection 2.10.1 Violence against children: overview.
Both in the Penal Code and in the Sharia, same-sex activity is punishable, including by death penalty. Although the Afghan State has not implemented the death penalty for consensual same-sex acts between adults in private, imprisonment and police harassment, including robbing and rape of gay men, is reported [Society-based targeting, 4.1].
Targeting and extrajudicial punishment by insurgent groups also take place. In 2015, it was reported that the Taliban had sentenced two men and a teenager to execution for homosexuality [Society-based targeting, 4.1].
LGBTIQ individuals also face a threat by their family and society. Same-sex practices remain hidden and are highly stigmatised if mentioned publicly. Identifying as having a sexual orientation or identity outside the expected norms of heterosexuality is a societal taboo and is seen as un-Islamic. Sources report discrimination, including in health services and employment, assaults, threats, rape, blackmail, and arrest [Society-based targeting, 4.2].
Although Afghanistan has traditions of a ‘third gender’, where individuals identify outside categories of male and female, these people are not legally recognised and function only at the margins of society [Society-based targeting, 4.2.1].
The acts to which LGBTIQ individuals could be exposed are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. rape, execution, killings).
The State could be considered an actor of persecution. Persecution could also be by insurgent groups, as well as by their family and/or the society in general, as there is a low societal tolerance in Afghanistan for individuals with sexual or gender identities deviating from the ‘norm’.
It has to be noted that an applicant cannot be expected to conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In the case of LGBTIQ applicants, in general, well-founded fear of persecution would be substantiated.
Nexus to a reason for persecution
Available information indicates that the persecution of this profile is for reasons of membership of a particular social group, based on a shared characteristic or belief that is so fundamental to the identity of the applicant, that he or she should not be forced to renounce it; and based on their distinct identity in Afghanistan, because they are perceived as being different by the surrounding society.