Skip to main content

2.6. Persons fearing forced recruitment by armed groups



Please note that this country guidance document has been replaced by a more recent one.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 refers to persons who claim to be targeted by actors in the conflict in order to be recruited by force and against their will. Different armed groups resort to forced recruitment, including the Taliban, ISKP, as well as PGMs, etc. For the topic of child recruitment, see the separate section 2.10.3 Child recruitment.

COI summary

a. Forced recruitment by the Taliban

The Taliban typically recruit unemployed Pashtun males from rural communities who are educated in madrassas. It is reported that they have no shortage of volunteers/recruits [Anti-government elements, 2.2, 2.4].

The Taliban only make use of forced recruitment in exceptional cases. It is, for example, reported that the Taliban try to recruit persons with a military background, such as members of the ANSF. The Taliban also make use of forced recruitment in situations of acute pressure. Pressure and coercion to join the Taliban are not always violent and would often be exercised through the family, clan or religious network, depending on the local circumstances. It can be said that the consequences of not obeying are generally serious, including reports of threats against the family of the approached recruits, severe bodily harm, and killings [Anti-government elements, 2.2, 2.4; Recruitment by armed groups, 1.5,,].

Although the Taliban has an internal policy of not recruiting children, child recruitment, in particular of post-puberty boys, is documented. [Anti-government elements, 2.4; Recruitment by armed groups,]. For more information on child recruitment by the Taliban, see 2.10.3 Child recruitment.

b. Forced recruitment by ISKP

ISKP’s urban cells are mainly composed of urban middle-class men and women who have joined the group for ideological reasons.

In rural areas with firm ISKP presence and/or where fighting is taking place, pressure is put on communities to fully support and help ISKP. As far as recruitment is concerned, the focus lies on recruiting (former) Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, especially those who oppose the peace process with the US and the Afghan government. Active recruitment of children also takes place in areas where ISKP operate [Anti-government elements, 3.4; Recruitment by armed groups, 2.1.4, 5.2]. For more information on child recruitment by the ISKP, see 2.10.3 Child recruitment.

c. Forced recruitment by PGMs

It is reported that PGMs in some areas make use of direct coercion to join them, including coercion of children. This depends on the local commander and the dynamics of the local conflict [Recruitment by armed groups, 4.2].

Risk analysis

Forced recruitment is of such severe nature that it would amount to persecution. The consequences of refusal of (forced) recruitment could also amount to persecution (e.g. severe bodily harm, killing).

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: age (belonging to the age group young adults), military background, area of origin and the presence/influence of armed groups, increased intensity of the conflict, position of the clan in the conflict, poor socio-economic situation of the family, etc.

With regard to child recruitment, see the section 2.10.3 Child recruitment.

Nexus to a reason for persecution

While the risk of forced recruitment as such may not generally imply a nexus to a reason for persecution, the consequences of refusal, could, depending on individual circumstances, substantiate such a nexus, among other reasons, to (imputed) political opinion.