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 country guidance represents the common assessment of the situation in the country of origin by senior policy officials from EU Member States, in accordance with current EU legislation and jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
This guidance note does not release Member States from the obligation to individually, objectively and impartially examine each application for international protection. Each decision should be taken on the basis of the individual circumstances of the applicant and the situation in Afghanistan at the moment of the decision, according to precise and up-to-date country information, obtained from various relevant sources (Article 10 of the Asylum Procedures Directive).
The analysis and guidance provided within this document are not exhaustive.
On 21 April 2016, the Council of the European Union agreed on the creation of a senior-level policy network, involving all Member States and coordinated by EASO, with the task to carry out a joint assessment and interpretation of the situation in main countries of origin. The network supports EU-level policy development based on common country of origin information (COI), by jointly interpreting such information in light of the relevant provisions of the asylum acquis and taking into account the content of the EASO training material and practical guides where appropriate. The development of common analysis and guidance notes was also included as a key area in the new mandate of the European Union Agency for Asylum proposed by the European Commission.
The country guidance is intended as a tool for policy-makers and decision-makers in the context of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). It aims to assist in the examination of applications for international protection by applicants from Afghanistan, and to foster convergence in decision practices across Member States.
What is the scope of this update?
The current version of the guidance updates and replaces the ‘Country Guidance: Afghanistan’ (June 2019).
The first ‘Country Guidance: Afghanistan’ was published in June 2018, followed by a focused update of several sections, published in June 2019. In the current more comprehensive update, most sections of this document have been reviewed in light of recent COI, and more specific guidance has been provided on several topics. Minor changes have also been introduced in the approach and structure of several sections. The reader is invited to consider the present document as representative of the current joint assessment of Member States of the situation in Afghanistan, replacing all previous versions of the guidance.
Is this guidance binding?
The country guidance, developed by the Member States and published by EASO, is not binding. The guidance note, accompanied by the common analysis, shall be taken into account by Member States when examining applications for international protection, without prejudice to their competence for deciding on individual applications.
Who was involved in the development of this country guidance?
This document is the result of the joint assessment by the Country Guidance Network. The work of the Network was supported by a Drafting Team of selected national experts and by EASO. The European Commission and UNHCR provided valuable input in this process.
The guidance note, accompanied by the common analysis, were finalised by the Country Guidance Network in December 2020 and endorsed by the EASO Management Board in January 2021.
What is the applicable legal framework?
In terms of applicable legal framework, the common analysis and guidance note are based on the provisions of the 1951 Geneva Convention and of the Qualification Directive (QD) ; as well as jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU); where appropriate, the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is also taken into account.
What guidance on qualification for international protection is taken into account?
The horizontal guidance framework applied in this analysis is based primarily on the ‘EASO Practical Guide: Qualification for international protection’ and the ‘EASO Practical Guide: Exclusion’as well as the ‘EASO Guidance on membership of a particular social group’. It also takes into account relevant Judicial Analyses, published by EASO, and in particular those on ‘Qualification for International Protection (Directive 2011/95/EU)’, ‘Article 15(c) Qualification Directive (2011/95/EU)’, and on ‘Exclusion: Articles 12 and 17 Qualification Directive (2011/95/EU)’. Relevant UNHCR guidelines available at the time of finalising this document, and in particular the UNHCR Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Asylum-Seekers from Afghanistan , are also taken into account .
What country of origin information has been used?
The EASO Country Guidance documents should not be considered and should not be used or referenced as sources of country of origin information (COI). The information contained herein is based on EASO COI reports and, in some instances, other sources, as indicated. Unlike the Country Guidance, these represent COI sources and can be referenced accordingly.
The country information analysed for this update includes, in particular, the following documents.
EASO COI reports
EASO COI queries
Previous EASO COI reports have also been referred to where relevant.
References within this document are to the respective sections of these COI reports and queries. See Country of origin information references.
Links to the documents are provided throughout the common analysis for ease of reference.
How does country guidance assist in the individual assessment of applications for international protection?
The guidance note and common analysis follow the steps of the examination of an individual application for international protection. This document looks into the relevant elements according the QD and provides a general assessment of the situation in the country of origin, along with guidance on relevant individual circumstances that should be taken into account.
Its approach is consistent with, and should be read in conjunction with, the more detailed horizontal guidance. For an outline and additional guidance on qualification for international protection and exclusion, see:
EASO Practical Guide:Qualification for International protection,
Flowchart poster for practioners 
EASO Practical Guide: Qualification for international protection
EASO Guidance on membership of a particular social group
EASO Practical Guide: Exclusion
How is this document structured?
The country guidance is structured into guidance note and common analysis:
|Figure 1. Country guidance elements|