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Please note that this country guidance document has been replaced by a more recent one.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

Last updated: December 2020

[Security situation 2020, 1.4.2]

Criminal activities in Afghanistan are widely reported. Some of the crimes could trigger the considerations for exclusion, as they could qualify as serious (non-political) crimes and/or, depending on additional elements, as war crimes, crimes against humanity, or acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the UN.

Common criminality and organised crimes have been reported throughout the country, with an increase in recent years, especially in major cities such as Kabul, Jalalabad, Herat, and Mazar-e Sharif. Criminal groups target businesspersons, foreigners, local officials and crimes reported comprised kidnappings of adults and children, robberies and burglaries, murders, extortion. Narco-trafficking and drug-related crimes are also committed in the whole country. The endemic corruption within the police (ANP and ALP), which is sometimes linked to these criminal groups, could explain rises of these groups and the inability of the authorities, or the absence of will to stop and prosecute them in order to secure law and order [Security situation 2020, 1.4.2, 2.1.2; State structure, 2.1.2, 2.1.3].

Land is a primary source of conflicts and violence. Land disputes can find their roots in family, tribal or ethnic matters, as well as in agricultural matters, such as irrigation or the lack or ineffectiveness of land administration. Such conflicts happen in every province and sometimes lead to acts, such as land grabbing, illegal appropriation, violence, assassinations [Criminal law and customary justice, 2.1, 2.2].

Blood feuds are also common in Afghanistan. Retributive justice is a central component of the Pashtunwali, which requires the restoration of honour through carrying out revenge. Blood feuds happen mainly among Pashtuns but can also occur among other ethnic groups. Blood feuds can be the result of personal violence, disputes involving lands or family conflicts, and can go on for generations and impact entire tribes or communities. Excludable acts are committed in relation to blood feuds, including violence and murders [Criminal law and customary justice, 3.1].

Violence against women and children (for example sexual violence, domestic violence and early/forced marriage, child labour, child) is commonly reported in both public and private spheres [State structure, 3.3.1, Society-based targeting, 3.5, 3.8, 5].