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.
Laghman has a population of approximately 493 000. It is located in eastern Afghanistan and borders on the provinces of Panjshir, Nuristan, Kunar, Nangarhar, Kabul and Kapisa. The main ethnic groups are Pashtuns, Tajiks and Pashai tribes. The province is divided in six districts. The Kabul-Jalalabad section of Asian Highway AH-1 passes through Qarghayi district. The province is mostly mountainous, a fact that has favoured the insurgents in the past.
It is reported that Laghman has seen a rise in activities by the Taliban and ISKP militants in some remote districts. The UN Secretary General described Laghman as one of the ISKP’s ‘strongholds’ in Afghanistan.
According to LWJ, three of the districts were categorised as contested and the other three were categorised as under government control or undetermined.
ACLED collected data on 292 violent events in the period from 1 March 2019 to 30 June 2020 (average of 4.2 incidents per week), of which 198 were coded as ‘battles’, 77 as ‘explosions/remote violence’, and 17 as ‘violence against civilians’.
Examples of incidents include military operations as well as airstrikes, carried out by Afghan security forces and killing insurgents. Clashes between Taliban insurgents and ANSF fighters were reported in Alishang district throughout 2019. Incidents have been reported of civilians, including children, killed in a roadside bombing and after the detonation of unexploded ordnances in the districts of Alishang and Mehtarlam. In March 2020, the ISKP shadow governor for Laghman and 30 fighters of the group surrendered to ANSF.
UNAMA documented 282 civilian casualties (80 deaths and 202 injured) in 2019, representing 57 civilian victims per 100 000 inhabitants. This was an increase of 4 % compared to 2018. The leading causes for the civilian casualties were ground engagements, followed by non-suicide IEDs, and suicide IEDs.
RS ranked Laghman in the category of provinces where the number of civilian casualties was between 51 and 75 for the first quarter of 2020, and between 76 and 100 for the second quarter.
In the period 1 March 2019 – 30 June 2020, 4 816 persons were displaced from the province of Laghman, almost all within the province itself. In the same period, some internal displacement was reported to Laghman from Kabul and Nangarhar provinces.
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 Laghman, 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, 2.21