Hundreds violently evicted from Afghan settlement in Kabul, two children killed: NRC

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Taliban forces in Afghanistan violently evicted hundreds of people from a settlement in the country’s capital city, Kabul, reportedly killing two children, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said on Tuesday.

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The NRC received reports from its teams on the ground in Afghanistan that the demolition of a settlement in Kabul left around 280 families without homes, with reports from evicted families that a four-year-old and 15-year-old lost their lives during the evacuation, the NGO said in a press release.

“Several families [the] NRC spoke with reported having to evacuate their homes under traumatic conditions,” the NRC said. “Bulldozers began demolishing the camp early yesterday morning – by the end of the day, nothing remained.”

“As well as claiming lives, the sudden evictions have left the affected families helpless, and unable to salvage their belongings from the wreckage. Families were waiting in the street with no idea where to go,” the statement added.

Humanitarian agencies are blocked from the site, according to the NGO.

NRC country director in Afghanistan, Neil Turner, urged authorities in the country to halt any further evictions and uphold obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law which guarantees the rights of Afghans against forced evictions.

“By expelling extremely vulnerable families, the Kabul authorities have added a new chapter to the long book of suffering of displaced families in Afghanistan,” Turner said.

Residents of nearby settlements also reported being given eviction notices, according to the statement.

In 2021, Afghan authorities informed the humanitarian agencies of their plans to return internally displaced people to their areas of origin, closing these informal settlements across the country.

If realized, this policy would affect around two million individuals living in the settlements.

“Internally displaced people who are living in these settlements are already on the brink of survival and struggling with the economic crisis – this raises serious concerns that evictions will exacerbate the already extreme humanitarian needs,” Turner added.

The NRC responded to two other separate incidents of evictions this year, in Kabul in June and Badghis in December.

A total of 6.6 million people were internally displaced in Afghanistan as of December 2022.

Taliban forces reestablished control in Afghanistan in late 2021 after US forces pulled out of the country after 20 years of military intervention.

Over the last two years, Taliban authorities have imposed strict measures against the country’s residents, including a crackdown on women working in NGOs and banning women’s beauty salons.

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