More than 426,500 people displaced in Afghanistan last year

New OCHA figures show hike compared to 2018 when some 385,000 people were internally displaced in conflict-hit country.

    OCHA says 9.4 million people have been identified as requiring humanitarian and protection assistance in Afghanistan in 2020 [Reuters]
    OCHA says 9.4 million people have been identified as requiring humanitarian and protection assistance in Afghanistan in 2020 [Reuters]

    The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan last year displaced more than 426,500 people in 32 of 34 provinces of the country, according to figures released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 

    The OCHA data showed that more than 177,500 people had left their homes in the four northeastern provinces of Afghanistan, where Taliban fighters intensified their operations in 2019.

    The eastern provinces of Afghanistan had more than 74,000 displaced people, according to the UN agency.     

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    The overall number of internally displaced people in Afghanistan in 2018 was more than 385,000.      

    Battles in the country increased in 2019, despite the launch of talks between the United States and the Taliban to find a political solution to the 18-year-long conflict.

    OCHA said 9.4 million people were identified as requiring humanitarian and protection assistance in Afghanistan in 2020 due to conflict and natural disasters.

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    The UN agency further said humanitarian partners were urgently seeking $733m in aid for 7.1 million people this year.

    The Taliban, which is fighting a Western-backed Kabul government, today controls more territory than at any time since its government was toppled by US-led forces in 2001.

    Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians, members of security forces and 2,400 US military personnel have been killed in fighting since 2001.

    Washington has recently increased diplomatic efforts to reach a peace settlement with the Taliban and to withdraw thousands of troops in exchange for security guarantees.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies