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 religious leaders, such as members of Ulemas, teachers in madrassas, imams and theologists of Islam.
A high number of religious figures have been killed in recent years. Reportedly, targeting mostly happens in contested areas, but also in cities.
The reasons for targeting religious leaders are diverse but must be seen in the context of Ulemas being considered capable to delegitimise the insurgents’ religious ideology. Non-exhaustive examples of targeting include:
The acts to which individuals under this profile could be exposed are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. killing).
Not all individuals under this profile would face the level of risk required to establish well-founded fear of persecution. The individual assessment of whether or not there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, such as: public expression of support for the government or condemnation of insurgents’ actions, performing ceremonies for killed members of the security forces, etc.
Nexus to a reason for persecution
Available information indicates that the persecution of this profile is for reasons of (imputed) political opinion and/or religion.