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.
Takhar province has a population of approximately 1 093 000. The main ethnic groups in the province are Uzbeks and Tajiks. Takhar is located in the north-east of Afghanistan and is divided in 17 districts. It borders Badakhshan, Panjshir, Baghlan, and Kunduz, and Tajikistan to the north. The Kunduz-Takhar highway runs through the districts of Kalafgan, Taloqan and Bangi.
The presence of the Taliban had grown in most parts of Takhar over the past few years. Besides the Taliban, militants from the ISKP, IMU and its splinter group Jundallah are active along the border with Tajikistan. Reportedly, a small number of Islamic Jihad Union fighters are also active in parts of Takhar province. No security incidents specifically attributed to ISKP were recorded within the reporting period.
According to LWJ, six of the districts in Takhar province were contested, four were Taliban-controlled and seven were under government control.
ACLED collected data on 292 violent incidents in the period from 1 March 2019 to 30 June 2020 (average of 4.2 incidents per week), of which 205 were coded as ‘battles’, 76 as ‘explosions/remote violence’ and 11 as ‘violence against civilians’.
Most of the violent incidents in the province have been armed clashes, with the majority of attacks by the Taliban on Afghan security forces, including PGMs and ALP, attacks on military or police facilities, such as checkpoints, bases and headquarters, or attacks on vehicles and convoys. Some of these incidents resulted in civilian casualties and destruction of houses. The Taliban also attacked various districts, for example the provincial capital Taloqan, in July 2019. Takhar was one of the provinces in the north-east where security forces’ operations focused. Operations and attacks carried out by Afghan security forces against AGEs were reported, several backed by airstrikes, and some resulting in civilian casualties. Incidents where the Taliban or unidentified armed groups used roadside bombs and IEDs or rockets and shelling to target security forces or government officials, also caused civilian casualties. Reported violence against civilians included killings by Afghan security forces, the Taliban and unidentified armed men, for example of a doctor, a cook working at a military base, a tribal elder, and an imam. There were reports on abductions on the Kunduz-Takhar Highway. Electoral violence was reported, with several attacks in various parts of the province. The destruction of towers of cell phone companies by the Taliban was also reported.
Further impact on the civilian population included, for example, the closure of the Kunduz-Takhar Highway, as well as the setup of checkpoint on the highway, and the destruction of bridges by the Taliban. The Taliban reportedly also set fire to a girls’ school and closed several healthcare facilities.
UNAMA documented 192 civilian casualties (60 deaths and 132 injured) in 2019, representing 18 civilian victims per 100 000 inhabitants. This was an increase of 70 % compared to 2018. Leading causes for the civilian casualties were ground engagements, followed by airstrikes and non-suicide IEDs.
RS ranked Takhar in the category of provinces where the number of civilian casualties was between 26 and 50 for the first quarter of 2020, and between 51 and 75 for the second quarter.
In the period 1 March 2019 – 30 June 2020, 85 127 persons were displaced from the province of Takhar, 96 % of whom were displaced within the province itself, nearly all seeking refuge in Taloqan and Farkhar districts. In November and December 2019, Takhar also hosted IDPs from Baghlan.
Looking at the indicators, it can be concluded that indiscriminate violence is taking place in the province of Takhar, however not at a high level and, accordingly, a higher level of individual elements is required in order 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, 2.32]