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Please note that this country guidance document has been replaced by a more recent one.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

In the context of Article 7 QD, it is necessary that the parties or organisations control the State or a substantial part of the territory of the State. In order to consider that parties or organisations control a region or a larger area within the territory of the State, it should be established that they exercise governmental functions. Furthermore, those parties or organisations have to be willing and able to provide protection against persecution or serious harm as defined in Article 7(2) QD.

Many areas in Afghanistan are influenced by insurgent groups; however, the Taliban are the only insurgent group controlling substantial parts of the territory.

The Taliban position themselves as the shadow government of Afghanistan, and their commission and governing bodies replicate the administrative offices and duties of a typical government. They are described as becoming an organised political movement operating a parallel administration in large swaths of Afghanistan, and as evolving to become a local governance actor in the country by gaining and holding territory and thereby undertaking some responsibility for the well-being of local communities. In 2020, in territories under their control, the group continued to operate a parallel justice system based on a strict interpretation of the Sharia, leading to executions by shadow courts and punishments deemed by UNAMA to be cruel, inhuman, and degrading. An increasing number of Afghans across the country were reported to seek justice in Taliban courts due to feeling frustrated with the State’s bureaucracy, corruption, and lengthy processing times [Anti-Government Elements, 2.1. 2.5; Criminal law and customary justice, 1.8].

The lack of due process and the nature of the punishments would not qualify the parallel justice mechanism operated by the Taliban as a legitimate form of protection. Further taking into account their aim to overthrow and replace the Afghan State, and their record of human rights violations, it can be concluded that the Taliban do not qualify as an actor of protection who is able to provide effective, non-temporary and accessible protection.

In case protection needs have been established in the home area, and in the absence of an actor who can provide protection in the meaning of Article 7 QD, the examination may continue with consideration of the applicability of IPA, if applicable in accordance with national legislation and practice.