What is BSCPLIL
REASONS FOR DECISION:
1.1. The complainant (hereinafter BF), an Afghan national, entered Austria irregularly and with the help of a tractor and was apprehended together with several other foreigners in the local area of 7100 Neusiedl / See and provisionally arrested for lack of a valid residence permit. On February 22nd, 2015, he filed an application for international protection within the meaning of Section 2, Paragraph 1, Item 13 of the Asylum Act 2005 (hereinafter AsylG).
A EURODAC query did not reveal any identification service treatment of the BF.
1.2. In its first survey on February 23, 2015 by the public security service of the CC (Competence Center) Eisenstadt, the BF essentially stated the following in the presence of an interpreter for the Pashto language:
He comes from Zazai Aryob, Paktia Province, Afghanistan, is a member of the Pashtun ethnic group, a Sunni Muslim and is single. XXXX was recorded as the date of birth according to the age information provided by the BF. He attended eight classes of elementary school. His parents, two brothers and a sister would still live at home. A brother (XXXX) died.
He left his homeland about three months ago and reached Austria via the specified countries.
The BF stated that the reason for fleeing was that there were very many Taliban with them in the village. They wanted to take one boy per household with them to fight. His father resisted, which is why his brother XXXX was killed by the Taliban or by the villagers. His parents had sent the BF away so that the Taliban could not kill him.
1.3. On page 39 of the administrative file there is a copy of the BF's Tazkira (Afghan personal document), received by the BFA on March 6, 2015.
1.4. The Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum (hereinafter BFA) apparently had doubts about the age given by the BF and arranged for an expert medical age estimate. After a multifactorial examination on March 25th. and April 25, 2015 (X-ray of the left wrist, physical examination, dental panorama and X-ray of the collarbones), according to the overall report of April 28, 2015, the minimum age was 17.4 years and consequently the fictitious date of birth XXXX.
With a procedural order dated June 22, 2015, the BFA established this date of birth for the BF.
1.5. When he was interviewed on 11.08.2016 in front of the BFA, Regional Directorate Upper Austria, in the presence of an interpreter for the Pashto language, the BF confirmed the accuracy of the information he had given so far and essentially stated the following:
He comes from the village XXXX, Jaji Aryoab District. He has telephone contact with his family once a month. His father decided, organized and paid for the departure.
When asked about his allegations that he had escaped, the BF essentially repeated his information from the initial interview and elaborated a little further. His brother XXXX had told the Taliban that he did not want to fight with them, and his father had also said that now was the time to study and not to fight. Six or seven days after this conversation, the brother was murdered by the Taliban on his property. They came again and said to the father that it was right for him because whoever refused to come with them was a traitor and an unbeliever. The father would have said that he had left this world a martyr. Then the Taliban demanded the BF, who was 17 years old. As soon as he turned 18, he should have gone with them. That's why his father took him out of the country.
The BF answered questions on this (such as how many boys had been taken and how many had died in combat).
Country reports on Afghanistan were given to the BF, on which it did not comment. He submitted several documents about his integration efforts (language courses, German exams A1 and A2, voluntary work).
1.6. By decision of October 11, 2016, the BFA rejected the BF's application for international protection from February 22, 2015 in accordance with Section 3 (1) in conjunction with Section 2 (1) no.13 AsylG (point I.), recognized it in point II. according to § 8 Abs. 1 AsylG the status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection and granted him in point III. a temporary residence permit in accordance with Section 8 (4) AsylG until October 11, 2017.
In the reasoning for the decision, the authority concerned made statements on the person of the BF and on the situation in his country of origin. He had not made any persecution within the meaning of the Asylum Act credible.
In order to provide evidence, the BFA (summarized) stated that the BF would be credible with regard to its alleged region of origin, nationality and nationality due to its language and local knowledge - in contrast to its escape claims. The statements on the situation in Afghanistan would be credible because they came from reliable, reputable, current and unobjectionable sources, the content of which was conclusive and free of contradictions.
The BF judged his allegations to flee as not credible and justified this mainly with timing inconsistencies and implausibilities.
The BFA justified the granting of subsidiary protection with the fact that due to the increased number of safety-relevant incidents in its home province of Paktia and the lack of a social family network when resettling in another district, there is currently "insufficient security of life". An alternative to fleeing to a safe province is "not possible due to [his] poor financial situation and the lack of a social network".
1.7. In a letter dated October 21, 2016, supported by his legal advisor, the BF submitted the appeal against this decision to the Federal Administrative Court (hereinafter referred to as BVwG) in due time, with which this decision of August 24, 2016 with regard to point I. ) was contested.
In the brief statement of grounds for the complaint, the BF's submissions in the first authority proceedings were essentially repeated. The fear of persecution he expressed as a man of military age is quite real.
Even with the complaint, the BF did not provide any evidence for his allegations to escape.
Among other things, an application was made to hold an oral complaint hearing.
1.8. The BFA submitted the complaint, including administrative acts, to the Federal Administrative Court (hereinafter referred to as BVwG) and made no motion to reject the complaint.
1.9. With a decision dated October 17, 2017, the BFA extended the residence permit granted to the BF from August 8, 2017 to October 11, 2019 upon request.
1.10. In a letter dated October 11, 2018, the BF presented the BVwG with further evidence of its integration in Austria (B1 German certificate, passed compulsory school exams, participation in a values and orientation course).
1.11. In a letter dated October 19, 2018, the BF submitted a supplement to the complaint. It did not contain any new information or aspects.
1.12. With regard to the contested decision of October 11, 2016 (regarding Section 3 AsylG - Asylum), the BVwG held a public hearing on June 12, 2019 in the presence of an interpreter for the Pashto language, at which the BF personally appeared in the presence of his authorized legal advisor . In a letter dated March 11, 2016, the BFA waived participation in the oral complaint hearing and requested that the complaint be dismissed.
At the hearing, the BF essentially stated the following in response to a judicial questioning (excerpt from the negotiation paper):
"[...] RI [judge]: What is your mother tongue?
BF: Pashto. I also speak Urdu and some Hindi and English. I understand Dari too.
RI an D [interpreting]: In which language do you translate for the BF?
RI asks BF whether he understands D well; this is answered in the affirmative.
About the current situation:
RI: Do you feel physically and mentally able to follow today's negotiation?
BF: Very healthy.
RI: Do you suffer from chronic or acute illnesses or other ailments or ailments?
So far, the BF has not submitted any evidence for his allegations to escape and does not present any today either.
Regarding his identity, he presented his tazkira (Afghan identity document).
With regard to his integration in Austria, he has presented several means of certification and receipts (completed German exams, most recently B1, letters of recommendation, exercise of charitable activities), the original of which he is presenting for inspection today. He presents further documents, some of which are copied for file (employment contract in a cafe-restaurant [Diglas], wage and salary slips, social security statement).
On identity and origin as well as on personal living conditions:
RI: Are the statements made by the authority concerned in the contested decision about your name and date of birth and your nationality correct?
RI: What ethnic group, or what ethnic group or language group do you belong to?
RI: Do you belong to any religious community, and if so, which one?
BF: Sunni Muslim.
RI: Are you married, or do you live in a registered partnership or otherwise in a permanent partnership?
RI: Are you engaged or do you intend to get married in the near future?
RI: Do you have children?
RI: Did you complete school or vocational training in your country of origin?
BF: Only attended school for eight years.
RI: What did you do for a living in your country of origin or who provided for your living?
BF: My father. We had our own land, fields the size of three jiribs.
RI: Where and how do your relatives live?
BF: Only in the province of Paktia, in the village XXXX. My father is an only child.
RI: When was the last time you left your country of origin?
BF: On November 22, 2014.
RI: You know the day exactly?
BF: Yes, because you never forget the day you leave home.
On the current situation in Austria:
RI: Do you have family members or relatives living in Austria?
BF: No. I have no relatives in all of Europe.
RI: Do you have any contact with Austrians? Do you have important contact persons in Austria and what are their names?
BF: Yes, I have friendships with my work colleagues and with boys with whom I play volleyball on the Danube. I also often play cricket in Vienna and Lower Austria.
RI: How do you live?
BF: I live with four compatriots in a shared apartment in 1100 Vienna.
RI requests D not to translate the following questions. RI asks several questions.
RI: Do you speak German? Have you been able to understand me so far without a translation through the D?
BF: Approx. 80%.
RI notes that the BF understood the most recently asked and untranslated questions and answered them in German.
RI: Are you currently attending a German course, or have you already attended a German course?
BF: The AMS offered me to take part in a B2 German course. But since I got a job at the same time, I couldn't take part.
RI: Do you attend certain courses or a school in Austria, or are you an active member of an association? Do you have any sporting or cultural activities?
BF: Apart from the activities I have already mentioned, I like to go out with friends on weekends.
RI: Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense by a court or have you been banned from staying or returning by an authority?
BF: I once received an administrative fine for driving illegally.
RI: Do you still have ties to your country of origin from Austria, in particular contacts to family members, relatives, friends or other people living there? If so, what exactly does this contact look like (by phone, letter, email), or how regular is this contact?
BF: Yes, I regularly communicate with my father about two or three times a month via Messenger. My father told me that after I left the Taliban repeatedly came to their home and asked for me. The family (parents, two brothers, one sister) endured this for a while, but sold the fields at the end of 2016 and moved to Pakistan in the XXXX autonomous region. The Taliban killed my eldest brother, he didn't want to join them.
On the reasons for fleeing and the situation in the event of return to the country of origin:
RI: You have already been questioned in the proceedings before the Federal Asylum Office on the reasons why you have left your country of origin or why you can no longer return to your country of origin (reasons for fleeing). The relevant records are in the file.
Do you still remember this information and, if so, do you keep this information in full and unchanged, or do you want to add or correct something about your reasons for fleeing that seems important to you? You now have sufficient time and the opportunity to present any evidence.
BF: Yes, I can remember, everything is correct and I have said everything. Beyond that, there is nothing more to add, except for my family's move from Afghanistan to Pakistan.
RI: How and on what does your family live in Pakistan now?
BF: On the one hand there is money from the sale of the land. With the money my father founded or invested a shop in XXXX. In this canteen he sells groceries, e.g. Tea, cookies, biscuits. This canteen is in a match factory.
RI shows the BF a map of the province of Paktia, district of Alikhel (Jaji) and asks him to indicate his hometown. The BF points to the place XXXX.
BFV: What is your neighboring village?
BF: My neighboring village is called XXXX, my village is called XXXX on this map.
It should be noted that, after discussion with the D, the district is obviously called Jaji (English; German: XXXX). XXXX is a major town in this district.
Taking into account the submissions of the BF on the basis of the information available to the Federal Administrative Court, the RI brings the findings and reports [...] attached to this record into the proceedings at issue.
The RI explains the importance of these reports and how they came about. Subsequently, the RI sets out the essential content of these findings on the general situation in the country of origin for the decision.
RI follows BFV [representative of the BF] copies of these sources of knowledge and gives it the opportunity to ask questions about this and about the previous information from the BF, which it does without.
BFV: The BF has presented his reasons for fleeing in a credible and realistic manner, and I will take a position on the information provided by the countries in a statement. I ask for the complaint to be granted.
The BFV is given a period of four months to submit evidence of the evacuation (e.g. confirmation from people as to when, where and what happened).
RI: What would happen to you specifically if you had to return to your country of origin now?
BF: I couldn't survive there. Second, this is where I got to know a new life. I saw the light. I opened my eyes.
RI: Are you sad that XXXX is dead?
RI: How did you kill him?
BF: He was shot. Killed by gunfire. We don't know exactly how many shots. My father and I were at home. He was working in the field.
RI: How do you know he was shot?
BF: We heard several shots. Two or three days after his death, the Taliban came back to the village and said, "Those who refuse to come with us will be killed".
RI: How do you know he was shot, did you find his body?
BF: We saw his body, it was lying on the floor in blood. We buried him.
RI: Who was at the funeral?
BF: The villagers. About 30 or 40 in total, no women.
RI asks BFV whether it would like to add anything further; this is denied.
RI asks BF if he would like to add anything else; this is denied.
RI asks BF whether he understood D well; this is answered in the affirmative. [...] "
The judging court brought further sources of information about the BF's country of origin into the proceedings (listed under point 2.).
The negotiating document and enclosures were sent to the BFA.
1.13. After the extension of the grace period had been granted by the BVwG, the BF submitted a "Confirmation from the village elder about the killing of his brother by the Taliban" in a letter from his representative dated November 14, 2019.
According to the translation officially arranged by the BVwG, the text is short and several passages are incomprehensible or illegible. The relevant passage for the procedure reads: "In the morning came the death of the Taliban with guns. The time of the burial o - in the village XXXX - chairwoman of the village - XXXX."
1.14. In a letter dated July 24, 2019, the BF submitted a further application for the extension of his temporary residence permit in accordance with Section 8 AsylG (subsidiary protection)
1.15. The BF was not questioned by the BFA, but was granted a hearing from the parties in a letter dated November 14, 2019 and given the opportunity to comment on specific questions.
1.16. In a letter from his representative dated November 25, 2019, the BF answered these questions about his living conditions.
1.17. With the decision of December 19, 2019, the status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection granted to the BF in the decision of October 11, 2016 was officially revoked (point I.). In point II.The residence permit granted by the decision of October 11, 2016 as a person entitled to subsidiary protection was withdrawn and his application of July 24, 2019 for an extension of the temporary residence permit in accordance with Section 8 (4) AsylG was rejected.
In the ruling points III. - VI. The BF was not granted a residence permit for reasons worthy of consideration in accordance with Section 57 AsylG and, in accordance with Section 10 (1) (5) AsylG in conjunction with Section 9 BFA-VG, a return decision in accordance with Section 52 (2) (4) Aliens Police Act 2005 (hereinafter FPG) enact. In accordance with Section 52 (9) of the FPG, it was determined that the deportation of the BF to Afghanistan was permissible under Section 46 of the FPG. According to § 55 Abs. 1 to 3 FPG, the deadline for the voluntary departure of the BF amounts to "2" [two] weeks [correct: 14 days] after the return decision becomes final.
In the reasoning for the decision, the authority concerned made statements on the person of the BF and - in violation of the right to be heard by the parties without notifying the BF beforehand during the proceedings - on the situation in his country of origin.
The BF does not meet the requirements for issuing a residence title in accordance with Section 57 AsylG, and his right to respect for private or family life in view of the short duration of stay and the lack of family or private ties in Germany does not preclude the issuing of a return decision. In view of the negative decision on the application for international protection, the deportation of the BF to Afghanistan is permissible. The deadline for voluntary departure of 14 days results from § 55 FPG, since there are no special circumstances that the BF has to take into account when regulating his personal circumstances.
The BFA basically justified the abolition of the status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection with the fact that the status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection was granted in 2016 due to the poor financial situation at the time and the lack of a family or social network in a safe province of Afghanistan. These prerequisites would no longer exist at this point in time.
The BF has meanwhile completed compulsory schooling and is capable of self-sustaining in a country unknown to him. He has an alternative domestic flight option in Herat or Balkh. His subjective situation has changed completely in the meantime. Now a return to a region is reasonable for him even without "family, social" points of contact.
1.18. Against this decision of the BFA dated December 19, 2019 (withdrawal of subsidiary protection), the BF filed a timely appeal with a letter from the legal advisory aid organization representing it dated January 14, 2020, with which the decision as a whole was due to "illegality of its content, defective or, incorrect statement of reasons as well as illegality as a result of violation of procedural rules "was challenged.
In the statement of grounds of appeal, it was essentially asserted that the reasons that led to the granting of the status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection to the BF had essentially not changed. The prerequisites for the withdrawal according to § 9 AsylG were therefore not available due to the lack of a significant change in the relevant circumstances.
Although the BF has an uncle and an aunt in Afghanistan, they work in agriculture and are barely able to meet their own needs. He does not have an adequate family or social network.
It is paradoxical that his exemplary efforts to integrate in Austria are interpreted to his disadvantage, the Austrian labor market and housing situation is not comparable with the Afghan situation.
1.19. The BFA submitted the complaint against the decision of December 19, 2019, including the administrative act, and requested that the complaint be dismissed as unfounded.
1.20. According to the control report - travel movements of the Schwechat City Police Command, the BF left on January 23, 2012 for two months on vacation to Peshawar (Pakistan); in 2017 he left for a month.
2. Taking of evidence:
In order to establish the facts relevant to the decision, evidence was collected during the preliminary investigation by:
* Inspection of the administrative files of the BFA available to the BVwG, including the minutes of the first survey on May 23, 2015 and the interrogation before the BFA on August 11, 2016 and August 21, 2019, the expert multifactorial age estimate obtained from April 28, 2015, the numerous submitted by the BF Receipts regarding his integration as well as the present complaints from October 21, 2016 and January 14, 2020, as well as inspection of the court files of the BVwG
* Access to documentation sources relating to the BF's country of origin in the first-time official proceedings (excerpts from the current country information sheets of the BFA's state documentation)
* Inspection of the following sources of information on the BF's country of origin, which were additionally introduced at the public hearing before the BVwG:
o Findings and reports on the general situation in the country of origin and in the province of Paktia (excerpts from the country information sheet of the state documentation of June 29, 2018, last updated on March 26, 2019)
o Excerpt from: "EASO information report on the country of origin Afghanistan, recruiting strategies of the Taliban" (July 2012, pages 42-44) as well as an excerpt from Landinfo report Afghanistan: Recruitment by the Taliban, dated June 29, 2017 (translation)
3. Result of the investigation (factual findings):
On the basis of the investigative procedure carried out, the BVwG assumes the following credible facts that are relevant for the decision:
3.1. About the BF:
3.1.1. The BF bears the name XXXX, born on XXXX, is a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, a member of the Pashtun ethnic group and is committed to the Sunni religion of Islam. The BF's mother tongue is Pashto, he also speaks some Urdu, Hindi and English and meanwhile also good German.
3.1.2. Living conditions of the BF in Afghanistan:
The BF comes from the province of Paktia and lived there with his parents, three brothers and a sister. He attended school for eight years.
The BF does not have sufficient family or other social contacts or points of contact in Afghanistan. His family now lives in Pakistan.
3.1.3. The BF left Afghanistan at the age of about 17 due to the problems mentioned and filed an application for international protection in Austria on February 22nd, 2015.
3.1.4. Living conditions of the BF in Austria:
The BF tries seriously and successfully to integrate in Austria. He has acquired a good knowledge of German, lives privately, has many social contacts with Austrians and is employed. He is criminally harmless.
3.2. The BF's reasons for fleeing:
3.2.1. According to his own statements, the BF was never imprisoned in his country of origin, has no previous conviction and had no problems with the authorities in his country of origin, either because of his religion or ethnic group membership. The BF was not politically active and did not belong to a political party.
3.2.2. The BF does not claim that his brother was killed by the Taliban because of his refusal to fight with the Taliban and then threatened the BF with being forcibly recruited by the Taliban and, if he refused, also threatened with death credibly.
3.3. For subsidiary protection:
With the decision of the BFA dated October 11, 2016, the BF was granted the status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection in a legally binding manner. With a decision dated October 17, 2017, his temporary residence permit was extended for a further two years.
There has been no fundamental and permanent change in the circumstances that led to the granting of subsidiary protection compared to the decision of October 11, 2016.
3.4. The situation in the BF's country of origin:
3.4.1. Excerpt from the country information sheet of the state documentation of the BFA on Afghanistan ("Overall update on November 13th, 2019", spelling mistake partially corrected):
"[...] 2. Political situation
Afghanistan is a central state with 34 provinces, which are divided into districts (AA 04/15/2019). About 32 million people (CSO 2019) live in an area of approx. 632,000 square kilometers (CIA May 24, 2019).
In 2004 the new constitution was adopted (BFA 7.2016; cf. Casolino 2011), which provides that no law may violate the principles and provisions of Islam and that all citizens of Afghanistan, men and women, have the same rights and obligations before Law (BFA 3.2014; cf. Casolino 2011, MPI January 27, 2004).
The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan provides that the President of the Republic is directly elected by the people and his mandate is five years (Casolino 2011). The constitution implicitly assigns the leadership of the executive to the president (AAN 02/13/2015), and the provincial heads, as well as other important administrative officials, are appointed and accountable to the president directly. Many are chosen on the basis of personal relationships (EC 05/18/2019).
As a result of the 2014 presidential elections, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani was introduced to the office of President on September 29, 2014 as the successor to Hamid Karzai. At the same time, his rival candidate, Abdullah Abdullah, took up the post of President of Government (CEO) - a position introduced by presidential decree that is similar to the position of Prime Minister. Ghani and Abdullah are at the head of a government of national unity (National Unity Government, NUG), the formation of which both sides agreed upon following the presidential elections (AA April 15, 2019; see AM 2015, DW 30.9.2014). In the 2014 presidential election, there were allegations of electoral fraud on a large scale (RFE / RL 29.05.2019). The presidential election, originally planned for April 20, 2019, has been postponed several times because the electoral authorities were not prepared for a nationwide election so soon after the parliamentary elections in October 2018. The Afghan Supreme Court was able to understand the challenges for the electoral commission and extended the term of office of President Ashraf Ghani until the presidential election postponed to September 28, 2019 (DZ April 21, 2019).
Parliament and parliamentary elections
The Afghan National Assembly is the country's highest legislative institution and acts on behalf of the entire Afghan people (Casolino 2011). It consists of two chambers: the lower house or parliament (Wolesi Jirga) with 250 members (elected for five years), and the upper house or council of elders (Meschrano Jirga) with 102 members (AA 04/15/2019).
According to the constitution, the upper house is made up of representatives from the provincial and district councils to a third. The last third of the senators is determined by the president (AA 04/15/2019). Half of the senators sent by the president must be women. The president also gives two seats to the nomadic kuchi and two more to disabled people. A seat is also de facto reserved for a representative of the Hindu or Sikh community (USDOS 13.03.2019).
The seats in the lower house are distributed proportionally to the population in the 34 provinces. According to the constitution, 68 seats are reserved for women, ten seats for the Kuchi minority and one seat for representatives of the Hindu and Sikh communities (AAN January 22, 2017; see USDOS March 13, 2019, Casolino 2011).
Parliament's role remains limited. It remains to be seen whether the new parliament, which was constituted only after the elections in October 2018 with a considerable delay in April 2019, can take on a different role. Although the MEPs prove with critical hearings and amendments to draft bills in some important points that parliament is fundamentally functional, parliament also uses its constitutional rights to destructively hinder the work of the government, in some cases to block government personnel proposals for longer periods of time and allow concessions to be bought through financial contributions to individual MPs. The House of Commons, in particular, has turned itself into opponents of both the government of national unity and civil society. In general, the legislature suffers from a poorly developed party system and a lack of accountability on the part of parliamentarians to their voters (AA 02.09.2019).
According to the constitution, the presidential and parliamentary elections take place every five years (USIP 11/2013). With a three-year delay, parliamentary elections were last held on October 20 and 21, 2018 - with the exception of the Ghazni province (AA April 15, 2019; see USDOS March 13, 2019). The last presidential elections took place on September 28, 2019; according to the independent electoral commission (IEC), a preliminary result is expected for November 14, 2019 (RFE / RL October 20, 2019).
In the elections to the National Assembly on October 20 and 21, 2018, around four million of the 8.8 million registered voters cast their votes. In Kandahar province, voting had to be postponed for a week because of an assassination attempt on the provincial police chief, and in Ghazni province the election was not held because of political protests that affected voter registration (see above). The election was marked by irregularities, including voter registration and voting fraud, voter intimidation, and some polling stations closed due to threats from local authorities. The Taliban and other groups hindered voting through threats and harassment. Election-related violence killed 56 people and injured 379. At least ten candidates were killed in attacks in the run-up to the election, although the motives of the attackers were unclear (USDOS 13.03.2019).
Due to allegations of fraud and mismanagement, the Afghan Election Complaints Commission (ECC) declared all votes cast in the province of Kabul to be invalid at the beginning of December 2018 (RFE / RL 06.12.2018). The two election commissions subsequently agreed on a new method for counting the votes cast (TN 12.12.2018). The provincial results of Kabul were finally published on May 14, 2019, almost seven months after election day. In a speech, President Ghani described the election as a "disaster" and the two election commissions as "inefficient" (AAN 05/17/2019).
The Afghan constitution allows the establishment of political parties as long as their program does not contradict the principles of Islam (USDOS May 29, 2018). In order to give the parties a general and national character, the constitution forbids any form of union in political organizations based on ethnic, linguistic (Casolino 2011; cf. MPI 27.01.2004) or denominational affiliation (Casolino 2011; cf. MPI 27.01. 2004, USDOS 05/29/2018). Also, no legally established party or organization may be dissolved without legal justification and without a judicial decision (MPI January 27, 2004).
The poorly developed Afghan party system is highly fragmented with over 70 registered parties (AA 02.09.2019). The political parties have not yet been able to establish their place in the Afghan political system (DOA March 17, 2019). Most of these groupings appear more as vehicles of power for their leadership figures than as political and programmatic parties (AA 02.09.2019; cf. AAN 06.05.2018, DOA 17.03.2019). Ethnicity, personal relationships and ad hoc coalitions traditionally play a bigger role than political organizations (AA 02.09.2019).
The current electoral system is personal, the parties cannot draw up lists of candidates, no seats are reserved for the parties, and the parties are prohibited from forming political groups in parliament. The party chairmanship is not determined by internal party processes, but is seen more like a partimonial inheritance that is passed on from one generation to the next, from father to son. People do not trust the parties, and young, educated people are unwilling to join such parties (DOA 03/17/2019).
The Hezb-e Islami is headed by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former warlord accused of numerous war crimes. A peace agreement was reached in 2016, and President Ghani assured members of the Hezb-e Islami immunity. Hekmatyar returned to Afghanistan from exile in 2016 and announced his candidacy for the 2019 presidential elections in January 2019 (CNA January 19, 2019).
In February 2018, President Ghani promised recognition as a political party in a plan for peace talks with the Taliban (DP 16.06.2018). The condition for this is that the Taliban accept Afghanistan's constitution and a ceasefire (NZZ January 27, 2019). The Taliban did not officially respond to the proposal (DP 16.06.2018; see following section, note).
Peace and reconciliation process
Between July 2018 (DZ August 12, 2019) - until the sudden termination by the US President in September 2019 (DZ September 8, 2019) - high-ranking representatives of the Taliban spoke with US negotiators about a political solution to what has now been going on for almost 18 years Conflict. The main focus was on troop withdrawals and guarantees by the Taliban that Afghanistan would not become a safe haven for terrorists. The talks are also expected to result in official peace talks between the government in Kabul and the Taliban.The Taliban had so far refused to speak to the Afghan government, which they regard as the "puppet" of the West - a ceasefire was also an issue (DZ 08/12/2019; cf. NZZ 08/12/2019; DZ 09/08/2019).
President Ghani had called on the Taliban several times to negotiate directly with his government and was concerned about the exclusion of the Afghan government from the peace talks (NYT January 28, 2019; see DP January 28, 2019, MS January 28, 2019). In February 2018, President Ghani invited the Taliban as equal partners to peace talks and offered them an amnesty (CR 2018). A dialogue meeting planned for mid-April 2019 in Qatar, at which the Afghan government would have been involved in the peace talks with the Taliban for the first time, did not take place (HE May 16, 2019). Taliban and well-known Afghan opposition politicians, including former President Hamid Karzai and several warlords, held talks in Moscow in February and May 2019 (Qantara February 12, 2019; see TN May 31, 2019). The Afghan government was neither involved in the two peace talks in Doha nor in the meeting in Moscow (Qantara February 12, 2019; see NYT March 7, 2019), which caused unease among some government representatives and impaired diplomatic relations between the two governments (REU March 18, 2019; see WP March 18, 2019).
From April 29, 2019 to May 3, 2019, the "great council meeting" (Loya Jirga) met in Kabul. Its members passed a resolution with the aim of reaching a peace treaty with the Taliban and promoting dialogue within Afghanistan. President Ghani also offered the Taliban a ceasefire during Ramadan from May 6, 2019 to June 4, 2019, but emphasized that this would not be one-sided. In addition, 175 captured Taliban fighters were to be released (BAMF May 6, 2019). The Taliban did not take part in this government-convened peace event (HE May 16, 2019).
3. Security situation
The security situation in Afghanistan remains volatile (UNGASC September 3, 2019) after both the Taliban and the Afghan government announced new offensives in the spring (USDOD 6/2019). Traditionally, the announcement of the Taliban's annual spring offensive marks the beginning of the so-called fighting season - which can be seen as symbolic, as the Taliban and the government forces fought each other in winter in recent years (AJ April 12, 2019). The spring offensive of 2019 is called al-Fath (UNGASC 06/14/2019; see AJ 04/12/2019; NYT 04/12/2019) and was announced by the Taliban despite the peace talks (AJ 04/12/2019; see NYT 04/12/2019 ). Nationwide, the provinces of Helmand, Farah and Ghazni were most affected by this active conflict (UNGASC 06/14/2019). The Afghan special security forces' offensives against the Taliban have been intensifying since December 2018 - the aim was to disrupt the Taliban's freedom of movement, defend key areas and thus force the Taliban to participate productively in the peace talks (SIGAR 07/30/2019). Efforts have been made at a high political level since July 2018 to politically resolve the conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban (TS January 22, 2019). According to reports, negotiations with the Taliban were about to be concluded when the US President canceled a planned meeting with the Islamists in early September in response to an attack (DZ September 8, 2019). While the current military situation in Afghanistan is still at an impasse, the introduction of additional advisors and trailblazers in 2018 stabilized the situation and slowed the momentum of the Taliban's advance (USDOD 12.2018).
The Afghan government retains control of Kabul, the main population centers and transit routes, as well as provincial capitals and most of the district centers (USDOD 6/2019). Afghan forces secure the cities and other government bases; The Taliban are intensifying large-scale attacks, as a result of which a large number of Afghan forces are involved in defense missions, bottlenecks arise and, as a result, there may sometimes be a lack of forces to hold territory (SIGAR 04/30/2019; see NYT 07/19/2019). Fights continued to be at a consistently high level. The exception was Islamic festivals, on which, as in the past, the level of combat fell significantly when both pro-government forces and anti-government elements reduced their offensive operations. In contrast, the pace of fighting continued throughout the fasting month of Ramadan, as anti-government elements carried out several suicide bombings and both pro-government troops and anti-government elements stated that they were maintaining their operational dynamism (UNGASC 09/03/2019). The Taliban announced that they are pursuing an asymmetrical strategy: the insurgents continue to carry out raids on checkpoints and district centers and threaten population centers (UNGASC 07.12.2018). Attacks increased by 19% between November 2018 and January 2019 compared to the previous reporting period (August 16 - October 31, 2018). Increased uncertainty was perceived in Afghanistan, particularly in the winter months. (SIGAR 04/30/2019). The winter season has been particularly hotly contested since 2002. Even so, the ANDSF and coalition forces sought to reduce the number of civilian casualties and focused on defensive operations against the Taliban and the ISKP. These operations caused heavy casualties among the insurgents and prevented them from reaching their destination (USDOD 6.2019). The ISKP continues to be resilient: Afghan and international armed forces carried out operations at high speed against the ISKP strongholds in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, causing some deterioration in the ISKP's governance structures. Nevertheless, the group continues to compete with the Taliban in the eastern region and has retained an operational capacity in the city of Kabul (UNGASC 09/03/2019).
In this way, neither the Afghan security forces nor anti-government elements achieve significant territorial gains. The most active conflict area is Kandahar Province, followed by Helmand and Nangarhar Provinces. Although there are no significant threats to state control over provincial capitals, high levels of Taliban activity have been reported in the vicinity of the provincial capitals Farah, Kunduz and Ghazni (UNGASC 09/03/2019). In several regions, the Taliban temporarily took strategic posts along the main roads so that they were able to successfully restrict traffic between the provinces (UNGASC December 7, 2018). For example, in strategically located provinces along Highway 1 (Ring Road) there were temporary restrictions by the Taliban (UNGASC December 7, 2018; see ARN June 23, 2019). The Afghan Defense and Security Forces are making significant resources available to improve security on the main roads - especially in the provinces of Ghazni, Zabul, Balkh and Jawzjan (UNGASC 09/03/2019).
For the whole of 2018, the United Nations (UN) recorded a total of 22,478 security incidents in Afghanistan. Compared to 2017, this is a decrease of 5%, whereby the number of security-related incidents in 2017 had reached its highest point with a total of 23,744 (UNGASC 02/28/2019).
For the reporting period 10.05. - 08.08.2019 the United Nations (UN) registered a total of 5,856 security-related incidents - an increase of 1% compared to the same period of the previous year. 63% of all security-related incidents, the highest number, were registered in the southern, eastern and south-eastern regions during the reporting period (UNGASC 09/03/2019). For the reporting period from February 8 to May 9, 2019, the UN registered a total of 5249 security-related incidents - a decrease of 7% compared to the previous year; where the number of civilian victims has also decreased significantly (UNGASC 06/14/2019).
For the reporting period May 10 - August 8, 2019, 56% (3,294) of all security-related incidents were armed clashes; a decrease of 7% compared to the previous year. Security incidents where improvised explosive devices were used saw a 17% increase. There was a 44% decrease in suicide bombings. The Afghan security forces, together with international forces, continue to carry out a high number of air strikes: 506 attacks were recorded in the reporting period - 57% more than in the same period in 2018 (UNGASC 09/03/2019).
In contrast, the non-governmental organization INSO (International NGO Safety Organization) registered 29,493 safety-related incidents across the country in 2018, which had an influence on NGOs. There were 18,438 incidents in the first eight months of 2019. The reported incidents included, for example, minor criminal attacks and threats as well as armed attacks and bombings (INSO undated).
From January to October 2018, the control or influence of the Afghan government decreased from 56% to 54% of the districts, while the control or influence of the insurgents on districts decreased from 15% to 12% during this period. The proportion of disputed districts rose from 29% to 34%. The percentage of the population living in districts under Afghan government control or influence decreased to 63.5% as of October 2018. As of October 2018, 8.5 million people (25.6% of the population) were living in contested areas, an increase of almost two percentage points compared to the same point in time in 2017. The provinces with the highest number of districts controlled by the insurgents were Kunduz , Uruzgan and Helmand (SIGAR January 30, 2019).
A military analyst specializing in Afghanistan reported in January 2019 that around 39% of Afghan districts were under the control of the Afghan government and 37% were controlled by the Taliban. These areas were relatively quiet, and collisions were occasionally reported. Around 20% of the districts were highly competitive. The Islamic State (IS) controlled around 4% of the districts (MA January 14, 2019).
Control over districts, population and territory is currently in a stalemate (SIGAR 04/30/2019). The number of security-related incidents between the end of 2018 and the end of June 2019, especially in the Helmand province, should be seen as increased efforts by the security forces to reach important Taliban strongholds and their leadership in order to subsequently force the Taliban to participate in the peace talks ( SIGAR 07/30/2019). Intensified fighting between the ANDSF and the Taliban is seen by both parties to the conflict as a means of exerting pressure at the negotiating table in Doha (SIGAR April 30, 2019; see NYT July 19, 2019).
The United Nations documented 01.01. - 30.09.2019 8,239 civilian casualties (2,563 dead, 5,676 injured) - this figure is similar to the previous year's figure in 2018. Anti-government elements continued to be the main cause of civilian casualties; 41% of the victims were women and children. Although the United Nations recorded the lowest number of civilian victims in the first half of 2019, July, August and September - in contrast to 2019 - were affected by a high level of violence. Civilians living in the provinces of Kabul, Nangarhar, Helmand, Ghazni, and Faryab were hardest hit by the conflict (in that order) (UNAMA 10/17/2019).
For the whole of 2018, at least 9,214 civilian victims (2,845 dead, 6,369 injured) (SIGAR April 30, 2019) were reported, or the UNAMA documented a total of 10,993 civilian victims (3,804 dead and 7,189 injured). According to UNAMA records, this represents a 5% increase in the total number of civilian casualties and an 11% increase for civilian deaths compared to 2017, marking a high since records began in 2009. Most civilian casualties were in 2018 in the provinces of Kabul, Nangarhar, Helmand, Ghazni and Faryab, whereby the two provinces with the highest number of civilian casualties - Kabul (1,866) and Nangarhar (1,815) - had more than twice as many casualties in 2018 as the third-placed province of Helmand (880 civilian victims) (UNAMA 02/24/2019; see SIGAR 04/30/2019). In 2018, the number of documented civilian casualties due to actions by pro-government forces increased by 24% compared to 2017. The increase in civilian casualties due to actions by pro-government forces in 2018 is attributed to increased air strikes, search operations by the ANDSF and pro-government armed groups (UNAMA 02/24. 2019).
High-Profile Attacks (HPAs)
Throughout 2018 (USDOD 12.2018) as well as in the first five months of 2019, insurgents, Taliban and other militant groups continued to carry out attacks on high-level targets, particularly in the capital region, in order to attract media attention, the legitimacy of the undermine the Afghan government and create the perception of widespread uncertainty (USDOD 6.2019; cf. USDOD 12.2018). These attacks have steadily declined (USDOD 6.2019). Between 01.06.2018 and 30.11.2018 59 HPAs took place in Kabul (previous year: 73) (USDOD 12.2018), between 01.12.2018 and 15.05.2019 there were 6 HPAs (previous year: 17) (USDOD 6.2019).
Attacks against believers and places of worship, religious minorities
The number of attacks on believers, religious exponents and places of worship in 2018 was at a similarly high level as in 2017: in 22 attacks by anti-government forces, mostly the ISKP, 453 civilian victims were recorded (156 dead, 297 injured), most of them caused by suicide attacks (136 dead, 266 injured) (UNAMA February 24, 2019).
For 2018, a total of 19 incidents of religiously motivated violence against Shiites were documented, with a total of 747 civilian victims (223 dead, 524 injured). This is an increase of 34% compared to 2017. While the majority of sectarian attacks against Shiites were carried out at places of worship in 2017, there were only two such attacks in 2018. Most of the attacks on Shiites in 2018 took place in other civilian habitats, including predominantly Shiite or Hazara-inhabited areas. Targeted assassinations and suicide attacks on religious leaders and believers resulted in 35 civilian casualties (15 dead, 20 injured) (UNAMA 02/24/2019).
Attacks related to the parliamentary elections in October 2018
The Afghan government made efforts to secure polling stations, which enabled more than 4 million Afghan citizens to vote (UNAMA 11.2018). And the measures taken by the ANDSF to secure the polling stations also enabled an election that was less violent than any other election in the past ten years (USDOS 12.2018). The Taliban had publicly announced in advance that they wanted to disrupt the parliamentary elections planned for October 2018. Similar to the 2014 presidential election, they warned citizens not to register for the election, imposed "fines" and / or confiscated Tazkiras and people threatened who were involved in the election (UNAMA 11.2018; see USDOS 13.03.2019) . From the start of voter registration (April 14, 2018) to the end of 2018, 1,007 victims (226 dead, 781 injured) and 310 kidnappings due to the election were recorded (UNAMA February 24, 2019). On election day (October 20, 2018), UNAMA verified 388 civilian victims (52 dead and 336 injured) of election-related violence. The highest number of civilian casualties on an election day since UNAMA began recording in 2009 (UNAMA 11.2018).
Various anti-government groups are active in Afghanistan - the border region with Pakistan in particular remains a refuge for various groups such as the Taliban, Islamic State, al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e Tayyiba, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (USDOD 6.2019; see CRS 12.02.2019) and not only represents a security challenge for the two countries, but also a threat to regional security and stability as a whole (USDOD 6.2019):
The US has been talking to high-ranking Taliban representatives about a political solution to the longstanding conflict in Afghanistan for around a year. The main focus is on troop withdrawals and guarantees by the Taliban that Afghanistan will not become a safe haven for terrorists. Both sides had recently been optimistic that they would soon come to an agreement (FAZ 08/21/2019). During these negotiations, the Taliban rejected requests for a ceasefire and carried out daily operations, primarily aimed at the Afghan security forces. (TG 07/30/2019). Between December 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019, the Taliban insurgents carried out more attacks than usual in the past, but the total number of effective enemy attacks fell sharply. These attacks mainly targeted military outposts and checkpoints, as well as other poorly defended ANDSF posts. This is seen as an attempt to have leverage in the peace negotiations (USDOD 6.2019).
The current Taliban leader is still Haibatullah Akhundzada (REU 08/17/2019; see FA 03/01/2018) - Deputies are Mullah Mohammad Yaqub - son of the former Taliban leader Mullah Omar - and Serajuddin Haqqani (CTC 1.2018; cf.TN 26.05.2016) - son of the leader of the Haqqani network (TN 13.01.2017). The Taliban refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (VOJ undated). The government structure and the military command are defined in the Layha, a code of conduct of the Taliban (AAN 04.07.2011), which was last published in 2010 (AAN 06.12.2018).
A report on Taliban recruiting practices divides Taliban fighters into two categories: full-time professional fighters, often recruited in the madrassas, and local part-time fighters, loyal to a local commander and embedded in local society (LI 29.06 .2017). The total strength of the Taliban was estimated by an expert in 2017 at over 200,000, including allegedly 150,000 fighters (around 60,000 full-time fighters from mobile units, the rest being part of the local militia). The expert estimated, however, that the number of full-time fighters who are active in Afghanistan at the same time rarely exceeds 40,000 (LI 23.08.2017). In January 2018, an official from the US Department of Defense estimated the total strength of the Taliban in Afghanistan at 60,000 (NBC 01/30/2018). According to the above-mentioned expert, the fights are mainly carried out by the full-time fighters of the mobile units (LI 23.08.2017; cf. AAN 03.01.2017; AAN 17.03.2017).
The Taliban run training camps in Afghanistan. 20 of them have been on public display since the end of 2014. The Khalid bin Walid camp is said to operate twelve offshoots in eight provinces (Helmand, Kandahar, Ghazni, Ghor, Saripul, Faryab, Farah and Maidan Wardak). 300 military trainers and scholars work there, and it should be possible to train up to 2,000 recruits at one time in this camp (LWY 08/14/2019).
The majority of the Taliban are still Pashtuns, although there is a growing minority of Tajiks, Uzbeks, Baluchi and even several hundred Hazara (including Shiites) (LI 08/23/2017). In some northern areas, the Taliban are said to be predominantly non-Pashtuns, as they recruit from among the local population (LI 23.08.2017).
The Haqqani network, which has been in existence since 2012, is a semi-autonomous organization, part of the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida ally (CRS 02/12/2019). Named after its founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani (AAN July 1, 2010; see USDOS September 19, 2018; see CRS February 12, 2019), a leading member of the anti-Soviet jihad (1979-1989) and an important Taliban figure; his death was announced by the Taliban in September 2018. The current head is his son Serajuddin Haqqani, who has been deputy head since 2015 (CTC 1.2018).
As the Taliban's most dangerous arm, the Haqqani network has carried out attacks in urban areas for years (NYT 08/20/2019) and has been blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan (CRS 02/12/2019).
Islamic State (IS / ISIS / ISIL / Daesh), Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP)
The first reports about the Islamic State (IS, also called ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) in Afghanistan go back to the summer of 2014 (AAN November 17, 2014; see LWY March 5, 2015). Initially, the commanders often included dissatisfied Afghan and Pakistani Talibans (AAN 08/01/2017; see LW 04/12/2017). Estimates of the strength of the ISKP vary between 1,500 and 3,000 (USDOS September 18, 2018) and 2,500 and 4,000 fighters (UNSC June 13, 2019). According to US data from spring 2019, their number has risen to 5,000. The Islamic State should also benefit from the increase in the number of fighters in Pakistan and Uzbekistan as well as from fighters who have fled Syria (BAMF June 3, 2019; see VOA May 21, 2019).
According to reports, the ISKP in Pakistan consists mainly of former Teherik-e Taliban members who fled the Pakistani army and its military operations in the FATA (CRS 02/12/2019; cf. CTC 12/2018). The Islamic State has succeeded in strengthening its organizational capacity in both Afghanistan and Pakistan by entering into partnerships with regional militant groups. Several groups in Afghanistan have joined the Islamic State since 2014, e.g. Teherik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) factions or the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), while others have worked with IS groups without a formal declaration of affiliation, e.g. the Jundullah- Group of TTP or Lashkar-e Islam (CTC 12.2018).
The Islamic State has a presence in the east of the country, especially in the province of Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan (CRS 02/12/2019; cf. CTC 12/2018). This mainly affects certain southern districts of Nangarhar (AAN 09/27/2016; see REU 11/23/2017; AAN 09/23/2017; AAN 02/19/2019), where they are fighting for control with the Taliban (RFE / RL 10/30/2019). 2017; see AAN 02/19/2019). In 2018, the ISKP suffered military setbacks, as well as territorial losses and one more leadership loss. On the one hand, the government forces were able to gain control over former IS areas, on the other hand, the Taliban also weakened the control of the ISKP in areas in Nangarhar (UNSC 06/13/2019; see CSR 02/12/2019). Due to the military defeats, the ISKP was forced to reduce the number of its attacks. The group tried to take the provinces of Paktia and Logar in the southeast, but was ultimately unsuccessful (UNSC 07/31/2019). They also tried to gain a foothold in northern Afghanistan. In August 2018, this group experienced defeats, although it is still perceived as a threat in this region (CSR 02/12/2019). Reports of the ISKP's presence may be exaggerated, however, as warnings about the Islamic State are "a useful fundraising tool" according to an Afghanistan expert: the Afghan government can ensure that Afghanistan remains in the consciousness of the West and foreign aid cannot completely dried up (NAT 12.01.2017). The ISKP's presence was concentrated in the provinces of Kunar and Nangarhar. Outside of eastern Afghanistan, the ISKP is unable to maintain an organized or open presence (UNSC 06/13/2019).
In addition to complex attacks on government targets, the ISKP carried out numerous large-scale attacks against civilians, especially on the Shiite minority (CSR 02/12/2019; see UNAMA 02/24/2019; AAN 02/24/2019; CTC 12/2018; UNGASC 12/07/2018; UNAMA 10/2018) . In 2018, the ISKP was responsible for a fifth of all civilian casualties, even though it has a smaller fighting force than the Taliban (AAN 02/24/2019). The number of civilian victims as a result of ISKP acts more than doubled in 2018 compared to 2017 (UNAMA February 24, 2019), but decreased again in the first half of 2019 (UNAMA July 30, 2019).
The ISKP condemns the Taliban as "apostates" who only pursue ethnic and / or national interests (CSR 02/12/2019). The Taliban and the Islamic State are enemies. In Afghanistan, the Taliban have been fighting for years against IS, whose ideologies and tactics are far more extreme than those of the Taliban (WP 08/19/2019; see AP 08/19/2019). While the Taliban largely limit their attacks to government targets and Afghan and international security forces (AP 08/19/2019), the ISKP aims to promote sectarian violence in Afghanistan by targeting Shiites (WP 08/19/2019).
Al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups
Al-Qaeda continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for their leadership based on longstanding and close ties with the Taliban. Both groups have repeatedly publicly emphasized the importance of their alliance (UNSC January 15, 2019). Under the auspices of the Taliban, al-Qaeda has grown stronger in recent years; the number of members is estimated at 240, with most of them in the provinces of Badakhshan, Kunar and Zabul. Mentors and al-Qaeda cadet leaders are often active in the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar (UNSC 06/13/2019).
Al-Qaeda wants to strengthen its presence in Badakhshan Province, especially in Shighnan District, which is on the border with Tajikistan, but attempts are also being made to expand its presence in Paktika Province, Barmal District. Furthermore, al-Qaeda members act as trainers and religious teachers for the Taliban and their family members (UNSC 06/13/2019).
As part of the peace talks with US representatives, the Taliban allegedly agreed in January 2019 to ban international terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan (TEL January 24, 2019).
The province of Kabul is located in the center of Afghanistan (PAJ undated) and borders on Parwan and Kapisa in the north, Laghman in the east, Nangarhar in the southeast, Logar in the south and Wardak in the west. The provincial capital is Kabul City (NPS undated). The province consists of the following districts: Bagrami, Chahar Asyab, Dehsabz, Estalef, Farza, Guldara, Kabul, Kalakan, Khak-e-Jabar, Mir Bacha Kot, Musahi, Paghman, Qara Bagh, Shakar Dara and Surubi / Surobi / Sarobi (CSO 2019; see IEC 2018).
According to the UNODC Opium Survey 2018, the province of Kabul recorded an 11% increase in the opium poppy acreage in 2018 compared to 2017. Opium poppy cultivation was limited to the Uzbin Valley in the Surubi district (UNODC / MCN 11.2018).
Kabul City - Geography and Demography
Kabul City is the capital of Afghanistan and also a district in Kabul Province. It is the most populous city in Afghanistan, with an estimated population of 5,029,850 people for the 2019-20 period (CSO 2019). However, the size of the population is controversial. Some sources claim that it is almost 6 million (AAN 3/19/2019). According to a report, the city, which before 2001 had twelve districts - also known as Police Districts (USIP 4.2017), PDs or Nahia (AAN 03/19/2019) - expanded to 22 PDs (USIP 4.2017) due to its significant demographic growth and horizontal expansion. . The Afghan Central Statistics Organization (CSO) estimates the population of the province of Kabul for the period 2019-20 at 5,029,850 people (CSO 2019). It consists of Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazara, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Baluch, Sikhs and Hindus (PAJ n.d.; see NPS n.d.).
Main roads connect the Afghan capital with the rest of the country (UNOCHA 4.2014). There is an airport in Kabul City that is served by international and national passenger flights (BFA State Documentation March 25, 2019).
The city consists of three concentric circles: the first includes Shahr-e Kohna, the old town, Shahr-e Naw, the new city, as well as Shash Darak and Wazir Akbar Khan, where many foreign embassies, foreign organizations and offices are located. The second circle consists of neighborhoods built between the 1950s and 1980s for the growing urban population, such as Taimani, Qala-e Fatullah, Map Se, Map Chahar, Map Naw, and the Microraions (Soviet residential areas). Finally, the third circle, which emerged after 2001, is mainly populated by the "youngest immigrants" (USIP 4.2017) (Afghan immigrants from the provinces) (AAN 19.03.2019), with the exception of some high-profile residential complexes for VIPs (USIP 4.2017).
As for the ethnic distribution of the urban population, Kabul is a destination for different ethnic, linguistic and religious groups, and each of them has settled in specific locations depending on the geographical location of their home provinces: this applies to the old town as well as to more distant ones District, and it becomes more and more evident in the unplanned areas (Noori 11.2010). In the most recently populated areas, the residents are primarily dependent on Qawmi networks in order to find shelter and jobs and to jointly improve their settlement conditions. On the other hand, in the central areas of the city the mobility of the residents is higher and changes of residence are more frequent. This has a disruptive effect on social networks, which manifests itself in the often heard complaint that you "no longer know your neighbors" (AAN 03/19/2019).
Nonetheless, a kind of "village society" has emerged in the neighborhoods that are densely populated by newly immigrated people with the same regional or ethnic background, whose residents know each other and have more direct connections to their region of origin than to the center of Kabul (USIP 4.2017). Some examples of the ethnic distribution of the Kabul population are as follows: Hazara mainly settled in the western Chandawal district in downtown Kabul and in Dasht-e-Barchi and in Karte Se on the outskirts; Tajiks populate Payan Chawk, Bala Chawk and Ali Mordan in the old town, and northern parts of the periphery such as Khairkhana; Pashtuns are mainly in the eastern part of downtown Kabul, Bala Hisar and further east and south of the periphery as in the map Naw and Binihisar (Noori 11.2010; see USIP 4.2017), but also in the western districts of Kota-e-Sangi and Bazaar- e-Company (also Company) based (Noori 11.2010); Hindus and Sikhs live in the heart of the city on Hindu-Gozar-Straße (Noori 11.2010; see USIP 4.2017).
Background information on the conflict and actors
The Afghan government retains control of Kabul. Nonetheless, insurgents, Taliban and other militant groups continued to carry out attacks on high-level targets throughout 2018 and in the first five months of 2019, particularly in the capital region, in order to attract media attention, undermine the legitimacy of the Afghan government and to create the perception of widespread uncertainty (USDOD 6.2019; cf. USDOD 12.2018).
Because of these high-profile attacks on Kabul city, the Afghan government announced the development of a new security plan for Kabul in August 2017 (AAN 09/25/2017). Among other things, the Green Village was built, a strongly secured area in the east of the city, in which aid organizations and international organizations (RFERL 09/02/2019; see FAZ 09/02/2019) as well as a residential area for foreigners are housed (FAZ 09/02/2019). 2019). The facility is heavily secured by Afghan security forces and private security guards (AJ 03.09.2019). The Green Zone, on the other hand, is a separate part that is not far from the Green Village. The Green Zone is a heavily secured part of Kabul, in which there are several embassies - e.g. also the US American embassy and other British institutions (RFER 02.09.2019).
With regard to the presence of state security forces, the province of Kabul, with the exception of the Surubi district, is the responsibility of the 111th ANA Capital Division, which is under the direction of Turkish troops and with contingents of other nations of the NATO mission Train, Advise and Assist Command - Capital (TAAC-C). Surubi District falls under the jurisdiction of the 201st ANA Corps (USDOD 6.2019). In addition, a special crisis response unit was set up within the Afghan police to prevent attacks and to respond to attacks (LI 09/05/2018).
The presence of Taliban fighters is reported in the Surubi district (TN March 26, 2019; see SAS March 26, 2019). Due to its proximity to the city of Kabul and the Salang Pass, the district is of great strategic importance (WOR 09/10/2018).
Recent developments and effects on the civilian population
In 2018, UNAMA documented 1,866 civilian casualties (596 dead and 1,270 injured) in Kabul province. This corresponds to an increase of 2% compared to 2017. The main cause of the victims was suicide and complex attacks, followed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and targeted killings (UNAMA 02/24/2019).
The Afghan security forces carried out military operations from the air and on the ground, in particular in the Surubi district, in which insurgents were killed (KP 27.03.2019; cf. TN 26.03.2019, SAS 26.03.2019, TN 23.10.2018, KP 23.10.2018 , KP 09.07.2018). Among other things, there were civilian victims (TN March 26, 2019; see SAS March 26, 2019). In addition, NDS units carried out operations in and around Kabul city (TN 08/07/2019; see PAJ 07/07/2019, TN 09/06/2019, PAJ 28/05/2019). Among other things, insurgents were killed (TN 07.08.2019) and arrested (TN 07.08.2019; PAJ 07.07.2019; see TN 09.06.2019, PAJ 28.05.2019), and weapons and explosives were confiscated (TN 09.06.2019; cf. . PAJ May 28, 2019).
IDPs - Internally Displaced Persons
UNOCHA reported for the period 01.01. - 31.12.2018 35 people displaced from the Surubi district due to the conflict, all of whom found refuge in the province of Logar (UNOCHA January 28, 2019). In the period 01.01. - 30.06.2019 UNOCHA did not report any persons displaced from the province of Kabul by violent conflict (UNOCHA 18.08.2019). In the period 01.01. - 31.12.2018 UNOCHA reported 9,422 displaced persons who came to the province of Kabul, most of them in the district of Kabul (UNOCHA 28.01.2019). In the period 01.01. - 30.06.2019 UNOCHA reported 2,580 displaced persons in the province of Kabul, all in the district of Kabul. They came from Kapisa, Kunar, Nangarhar as well as Logar, Ghazni, Baghlan and Wardak (UNOCHA 08/18/2019).
Up to two-thirds of all Afghans displaced outside their province are moving towards the five regional capitals (NRC 1/30/2019), and Kabul's growth has been particularly extensive. The total number of internally displaced persons in Kabul is unknown. Movement in and within the city fluctuates and many regularly return to their area of origin in more peaceful times (Metcalfe et al. 6.2012; cf. AAN 19.03.2019).In September 2018, the Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation estimated the total number of internally displaced persons in Kabul at 70,000 to 80,000 people (TN 09/21/2018).
5. Security agencies
The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) include military, police and other security forces (CIA 05/13/2019).
Three ministries are responsible for security in Afghanistan: the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI), the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Afghan Secret Service (NDS). The Ministry of the Interior is primarily responsible for internal order, including the ANP (Afghan National Police) and the ALP (Afghan Local Police). ANA reports to the Ministry of Defense and is responsible for external security, but its primary task is to combat insurgents within Afghanistan. The National Directorate of Security (NDS) acts as a secret service and is also responsible for investigating criminal cases that affect national security. The investigation department of the NDS operates a remand prison in Kabul (USDOS 13.03.2019). The Afghan security forces are partially supported by US or coalition forces (USDOD 12.2018).
The authorized force of the ANDSF is estimated at 352,000 (USDOD 6.2019; see SIGAR 30.07.2019): this includes 227,374 members of the ANA and 124,626 members of the ANP. With a strength of 30,000 people, the ALP counts as an independent unit (USDOD 6.2019). However, the assigned (actual) troop strength of the ANDSF is said to be only 272,465. The troop strength has therefore steadily decreased since the start of the RS mission in January 2015. The decrease in personnel is, however, attributed to the introduction of a new system for salary payment, which is intended to prevent the payment of salaries to non-existent soldiers (SIGAR 07/30/2019; NYT 08/12/2019).
Afghan National Army (ANA)
The ANA is responsible for external security, but its main task is to fight the insurgency in the country (USDOS 03/13/2019). The Department of Defense has authorized the ANA's strength of 227,374 (USDOD 6.2019). The Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A), a US-led command, reports a troop strength of 180,869. 1,812 women serve in the ANA and 86 more in the AAF (SIGAR 07/30/2019). The monthly failure rate, which averaged 2.6% in the second quarter of 2019 (SIGAR 07/30/2019), is still a problem in the ANA (USDOD 12/2019).
Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan Local Police (ALP)
The ANP ensures civil order and combats corruption and the production and smuggling of drugs. The focus of the ANP is currently on combating insurgents together with the ANA (USDOD 6.2019; cf. SIGAR 30.07.2019), but it is still the long-term goal of the ANP to transform itself into a traditional police apparatus (USDOD 12.2018).
The Ministry of the Interior (MoI) reports to the four sub-units of the ANP: Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP), Police for Public Security (PSP, includes parts of the former Afghan Police for National Civil Order, ANCOP), Afghan Border Police (ABP), Criminal Police (AACP) ), Afghan Local Police (ALP), and Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF). The Ministry of the Interior also oversees three Special Forces of the Police Commander-in-Chief (GCPSU) and the Drug Control Police (CNPA) (USDOD 12.2018). The ANP's authorized personnel is 124,626 (USDOD 6.2019), while CSTC-A reports a troop strength of 91,596. 3,650 women serve in the ANP (SIGAR 07/30/2019).
Unlike the ANA, the ANP does not offer any financial incentives to continue service - a possible explanation for why the ANA exceeds the ANP retention rates. The Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA), which finances the majority of ANP salaries, enables ANP salaries to be adjusted to the rising cost of living (USDOD 12.2019).)
The ALP is financed exclusively by the USA (USDOD 6.2019) and protects the population in villages and rural areas from attacks by insurgents (USDOD 6.2019; see SIGAR 07/30/2019). The members are selected by village elders or local leaders to protect their communities from attacks by insurgents (SIGAR 07/30/219; cf. USDOD 6.2019). ALP is subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior, but the number of employees is not assigned to the ANDSF (SIGAR 04/30/2019). The strength of the ALP, whose members are also known as "Guardians", is estimated to be around 30,000 men (USDOD 6.2019; cf. SIGAR 07/30/2019; cf.) - of which around 23,500 were fully trained (SIGAR 07/30/2019).
Resolute support mission
The "Resolute Support Mission" is a mission led by NATO that was launched on 01/01/2015. It mainly focuses on training, advisory and support activities at the ministerial and authority level as well as in the higher ranks of the army and police. The Resolute Support Mission has 16,000 personnel (through 39 NATO members and other partners). The headquarters are in Kabul / Bagram with four other branches in Mazar-e-Sharif in the north, Herat in the west, Kandahar in the south and Laghman in the east (NATO July 18, 2018).
15. Death penalty
The constitution and the penal code provide for the death penalty for particularly serious offenses (AA 02.09.2019). The new penal code, which came into force on February 15, 2018, has reduced the number of crimes punishable by the death penalty from 54 to 14 offenses (AI April 10, 2019). The death penalty is provided for crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, attacks against the state, murder and detonation of explosive charges, kidnapping or street robbery with fatal consequences, group rape of women, etc. (MoJ May 15, 2017: Art. 170). The death penalty is pronounced by the competent court and approved by the President (MoJ May 15, 2017: Art. 169). It is carried out by hanging (AI 10.04.2019; see AA 02.09.2019). Under the influence of Sharia law, however, the death penalty is also threatened for other crimes (e.g. blasphemy, apostasy, adultery, so-called "Zina", street robbery). There is deep-rooted support for this form of punishment and deterrence among the Afghan people. This is not least due to a corrupt and unreliable prison system and the fact that convicts can be released through payments (AA 02.09.2019).
Although President Ghani has in the meantime made positive statements about a possible moratorium on the death penalty and legislative proposals are on the way to convert the death penalty into life imprisonment, it can be assumed that death sentences will continue to be carried out (AA 02.09.2019). In 2018, three people were executed in Afghanistan (AI April 10, 2019; see AA September 2, 2019). All were executed on January 28, 2018 for kidnapping and murder of a child. However, there are no figures for any further executions (AI 10.04.2019). At the end of 2018, at least 343 people were on death row (AI April 10, 2019; see AA September 2, 2019). In 2018, 44 death sentences were commuted in Afghanistan and 50 people sentenced to death were pardoned because of the forgiveness of the victims' families. There is a government initiative to re-examine all death sentences (AI April 10, 2019).
20. IDPs and refugees
In the course of 2018, migration within the country increased due to the armed conflict and a historic drought (USDOS March 13, 2019). For the whole of 2018, UNHCR reports about 350,000 - 372,000 people who became internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to the armed conflict (UNHCR February 25, 2019; see IDMC 5.2019, USAID February 14, 2019, UNOCHA January 28, 2019 ). Despite the high level of violence over time, the extent of the conflict-related displacement was lower in 2018 than in 2017, when around 450,000 - 474,000 people were displaced by the conflict within Afghanistan (IDMC 5.2019). Due to the drought, mainly in the provinces of Herat and Badghis, around 287,000 IDPs were added (USAID 02/14/2019). According to UNOCHA, around 210,000 new conflict-induced internally displaced persons were added in the first half of 2019 (UNOCHA 08/18/2019). More than half of them come from the provinces of Takhar, Faryab and Kunar (UNOCHA 08/18/2019; see AA 09/02/2019).
According to IDMC, the total number of internally displaced persons was around 2,598,000 people at the end of 2018 (IDMC 5.2019).
In 2018, there were conflict-related displacements in 33 of the 34 provinces. The trigger for flight was often intimidation by armed actors. For example, in the course of the Taliban's attack on the city of Ghazni in August 2018, around 36,000 people became IDPs. In November 2018, for example, as a result of an armed conflict between Hazara and Taliban, 6,400 people were displaced from previously safe districts in Ghazni province (IMDC 5.2019).
Most IDPs are from unsafe rural areas and small towns and are looking for relatively better security conditions and government services in larger communities and cities within the same province (USDOS 3/13/2019).
The majority of internally displaced persons, like returnees from Pakistan and Iran, live in refugee camps, rented accommodation or with host families. The conditions are precarious. Access to health care, education and economic participation is severely restricted. The high competitive pressure often leads to conflicts. Most of the internally displaced persons are dependent on humanitarian aid (AA 02.09.2019).
Limited access to humanitarian assistance results in delays in identifying, assessing and providing timely assistance to internally displaced persons. They still lack access to basic protection, including personal and physical security and accommodation (USDOS 03/13/2019).
IDPs are limited in their ability to make a living. Often there is another internal migration after the first internal displacement (USDOS 13.03.2019). More than 80% of internally displaced people are in need of food aid (USAID 04/30/2018). Internally displaced families in particular with a female head of household often have difficulties in obtaining basic services because they do not have identity documents (USDOS 03/13/2019).
The Afghan government is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), IOM and other humanitarian organizations to provide protection and support to IDPs, refugees, returnees and other affected persons. The Afghan government's ability to support vulnerable people - including returnees from Pakistan and Iran - is limited and relies on help from the international community. The government has set up an executive committee for displaced persons and returnees as well as a political framework and an action plan that promotes the successful integration of returnees and internally displaced persons (USDOS 13.03.2019) as well as drawn up and coordinates humanitarian and development activities (WB 27.11.2018).
Drought and floods
The 2018 annual report of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) names a number of around 371,000 new IDPs due to the drought in Afghanistan in 2018 (IDMC 5.2019). As a result of the drought, more than 260,000 people from the provinces of Badghis, Daikundi, Herat and Ghor became IDPs in the first half of 2018 (UNOCHA 01/20/2018), and numerous people also left their home provinces of Jawzjan and Farah (BFA 06/13/2019). Most of them came to camps in the cities of Herat or Qala-e-Naw (Badghis). The camps are supplied with water and food on a daily basis, and tents, emergency shelters, hygiene, health and food services are provided (UNOCHA 20/01/2018). In 2018, around 19 settlements for internally displaced persons emerged in western Afghanistan due to the drought, most of them around 20-25 km from Herat City. Displaced persons settled mainly in the outskirts in order to gain access to services in the city (which are not available in the settlements, which basically emerged in empty fields) and the labor market. Local residents protested in the city accusing the internally displaced persons of taking their jobs away from them. The increased supply of cheap labor pushed the daily wage down from USD 6 - 8 to USD 2 - 3 (BFA 06/13/2019).
Further information on drought and floods can be found in Section 21. "Basic Services".
Refugees in Afghanistan
Afghanistan has signed the UN Convention on Refugees. Afghan laws do not contain any regulations on granting asylum or refugee status, but refugees and asylum seekers have access to education and health care. The state administration does not allow refugees to be resettled or naturalized and does not provide assistance in the event of voluntary return. The UNHCR office registers and coordinates the protection of around 500 refugees in cities (USDOS March 13, 2019; see UNHCR February 25, 2019).
There are around 75,000 Pakistani refugees living in Afghanistan who fled North Waziristan to the provinces of Khost and Paktika in 2014. The Gulan refugee camp, operated by UNHCR, houses around 13,000 Pakistani refugees. Many refugees who have settled in local communities receive support from UNHCR (UNHCR 02/25/2019).
21. Basic service
Afghanistan is still one of the poorest countries in the world (AA 02.09.2019; AF 2018). Despite support from the international community, considerable efforts by the Afghan government and continuous progress, Afghanistan was only ranked 168th out of 189 on the Human Development Index in 2018. According to the World Bank, the poverty rate has deteriorated from 38% (2011) to 55% (2016). The gap between urban centers and rural areas of Afghanistan remains glaring: outside of the capital Kabul and the provincial capitals there is in many places inadequate infrastructure for energy, drinking water and transport (AA 02.09.2019).
The Afghan economy is heavily dependent on international aid. The budget for development aid and parts of the operational budget come from international aid funds (AF 2018; see WB 7.2019). However, the Afghan government has been able to increase its income significantly since the fiscal crisis of 2014 (USIP 08/15/2019; cf. WB 7.2019).
The Afghan economy is mainly based on the informal sector (including illegal activities), which accounts for 80-90% of total economic activity and largely determines the actual income of Afghan households (ILO 5.2012; cf. ACCORD 07.12.2018). Agriculture is the livelihood for around 80% of the population (FAO 2018; cf. Haider / Kumar 2018), with the agricultural sector accounting for 18.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 according to forecasts by the World Bank (industry: 24 , 1%, tertiary sector: 53.1%; WB 7.2019). Afghanistan's GDP in 2018 was USD 19.36 billion (WB undated). Inflation averaged 0.6% in 2018 and is forecast to be 3.1% in 2019 (WB 7.2019).
Afghanistan experienced unprecedented economic growth from 2007 to 2012. While the gains from this growth have been highly concentrated, advances have been made in health and education during this period. The Afghan economy has been growing slowly since 2014 (in the period 2014-2017 an average of 2.3%, 2003-2013: 9%), which is linked to the withdrawal of international security forces, the associated cut in international grants and a deteriorating security situation is brought (WB 8.2018). In 2018 the growth rate was 1.8%. The slow growth is attributed to two factors: on the one hand, the severe drought in 2018 had a negative impact on agriculture, on the other hand, the confidence of entrepreneurs and investors decreased. Real GDP is expected to increase in the first half of 2019 mainly due to the easing situation with regard to the drought and improving agricultural production (WB 7.2019).
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