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Please note that this country guidance document has been replaced by a more recent one. The latest versions of country guidance documents are available at

Last updated: December 2020

This profile includes people who belong to the Shia religion. In Afghanistan, 10 to 15 % of the population are Shia Muslim. The majority of the Shia are ethnic Hazara and the two profiles should be read in conjunction (see 2.17.1 Individuals of Hazara ethnicity).

COI summary

The Shia community is disproportionately represented among civilian casualties in Kabul and Herat. There are reports of attacks against the Shia, especially on places where Shia gather, such as mosques, and during religious commemorations or weddings [COI query on Hazaras, Shias; Security situation 2020, 1.2, 1.5.2, 2.1].

The ISKP reportedly sees Shias as a legitimate target for killing as they are seen as heretical. The group continued to target Shias in 2019 and in early 2020. The territorial control of the ISKP is limited, however they have been able to carry out attacks in different parts of the country [COI query on Hazaras, Shias; Anti-government elements, 3.6.1].

Instances of discrimination against the Shia community are also reported [COI query on Hazaras, Shias, 1.1, 1.2; Conflict targeting, 1.2.10,, 2.5].

Risk analysis

The acts to which individuals under this profile could be exposed are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. sectarian attacks). When the acts in question are (solely) discriminatory measures, the individual assessment of whether or not discrimination could amount to persecution should take into account the severity and/or repetitiveness of the acts or whether they occur as an accumulation of various measures.

Not all individuals under this profile would face the level of risk required to establish well-founded fear of persecution. The individual assessment of whether or not there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, such as: area of origin (areas where ISKP has operational capacity present higher risk), participation in religious practices, political activism, etc.

Nexus to a reason for persecution

Available information indicates that persecution of this profile is for reasons of religion.