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.
The province of Ghazni has a population of approximately 1 363 000. The main ethnic groups in Ghazni are Pashtuns, Hazara and Tajiks. The province is located in the south-east of Afghanistan, bordering Bamyan, Wardak, Logar, Paktya, Paktika, Zabul, Uruzgan and Daykundi. It consists of 19 districts. Ghazni City is considered a ‘key intersection’, as it is situated on the Ring Road connecting the capital Kabul with the major population centre Kandahar in the south.
Eleven of the districts of the province were categorised by LWJ as under Taliban control and eight districts were categorised as contested.
Throughout 2019 and the first months of 2020, Ghazni continued to be highly contested and a major battlefield between Taliban insurgents and the Afghan government, backed by US forces. As of October 2019, the Taliban controlled almost all Pashtun populated districts of the province, while government forces controlled Ghazni City and Hazara-populated districts of the province (Jaghori, Malistan and Nawur). UNAMA also documented ISKP activity in Ghazni province, which caused civilian casualties. Some Al Qaeda cells were also reportedly present. The government forces controlled most of the district centres.
ACLED collected data on 1 291 violent events in the period from 1 March 2019 to 30 June 2020 (average of 18.5 incidents per week), of which 830 were coded as ‘battles’, 423 as ‘explosions/remote violence’, and 38 as ‘violence against civilians’.
Examples of incidents include attacks along main roads, clashes between the Taliban and government forces, airstrikes causing civilian casualties, and operations conducted by Afghan security forces during which people were harassed or harmed. Attacks by ISKP against civilians were also reported.
Further impact on the civilian population included destruction of civilian property, extortion and forced taxation, intimidations by armed groups, road checkpoints, and police abuses.
UNAMA documented 673 civilian casualties (213 deaths and 460 injured) in 2019, representing 49 civilian victims per 100 000 inhabitants. This was an increase of 3 % compared to 2018. Leading causes of casualties were suicide IEDs and non-suicide IEDs, and ground engagements.
RS recorded between 0 and 25 civilian casualties in Ghazni in the first quarter of 2020, reporting an increase in the number of civilian casualties in the second quarter of the year, with over 126 casualties recorded.
In the period 1 March 2019 – 30 June 2020, 3 742 persons were displaced from the province of Ghazni, the majority within the province itself. No conflict-induced internal displacement to Ghazni province from other provinces was reported in the same period.
Looking at the indicators, it can be concluded that ‘mere presence’ in the area would not be sufficient to establish a real risk of serious harm under Article 15(c) QD in the province of Ghazni, however, indiscriminate violence reaches a high level, and, accordingly, a lower level of individual elements is required to show substantial grounds for believing that a civilian, returned to the territory, would face a real risk of serious harm within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD.
Main COI reference: Security situation 2020, 2.10