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Abbreviations and glossary



Please note that this country guidance document has been replaced by a more recent one.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

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AAF: Afghan Air Force
ACLED: Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project
AGEs: See ‘anti-government elements’
ALP: Afghan Local Police, a security initiative to include armed militias in the police force, under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior.
ANA: Afghan National Army
ANDSF: Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, see also ANSF
ANP: Afghan National Police
ANSF: Afghan National Security Forces, including Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan National Police (ANP) and National Directorate of Security (NDS)
Anti-government elements: Armed opposition fighters, or insurgents, who are fighting against the Afghan government and its international allies. Examples of such groups of fighters are the Taliban, the Haqqani network and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
Asylum Procedures Directive: Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection


baad: The practice of exchanging women/girls to resolve a dispute; Exchanging daughters between families for marriage to avoid bride price costs
bacha bazi: Dancing boys: boys or young men who are sexually exploited by men for entertainment. They are made to dance in female garb, and provide sexual favours. This practice is often associated with men in power.


CAT: Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
CJEU: Court of Justice of the European Union
COI: Country of origin information
complex attack: A deliberate and coordinated attack that includes a suicide device, more than one attacker and more than one type of device. All three elements must be used for an attack to be considered complex.


EASO: European Asylum Support Office
ECHR: Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights), as amended by Protocols Nos. 11 and 14, 4 November 1950
ECtHR: European Court of Human Rights
EU: European Union
EU+: Member States of the European Union plus Norway and Switzerland


fatwa: A ruling or opinion given by the head of religious community in Islam
FEWS: Famine Early Warning System, Afghanistan


ground engagement: Ground engagements include kinetic ground operations, stand-off attacks, crossfire and armed clashes between parties to the conflict. Ground engagements include attacks or operations in which small arms, heavy weapons and/or area weapons systems, i.e. mortars and rockets are fired.


Hanafi: Sunni jurisprudence in use in Afghanistan; one of the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence.


ICC: International Criminal Court
IDP(s): Internally displaced person(s)
IED: Improvised Explosive Device. A bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action.
ILO: International Labour Organisation
IMU: Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
IPA: Internal protection alternative
ISKP: Islamic State Khorasan Province


jirga: A council or assembly of tribal elders held for dispute resolution; jirgamar refers to elders whose profession is dispute settlement


KPF: Khost Protection Force


 LGBTIQ people are people:                                             
 who are attracted to others of their own gender (lesbian, gay) or any gender (bisexual);
 whose gender identity and/or expression does not correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth (trans, non-binary);
 who are born with sex characteristics that do not fit the typical definition of male or female (intersex); and
■ whose identity does not fit into a binary classification of sexuality and/or gender (queer).
LWJ: Long War Journal, blog by the The Foundation for Defense of Democracies,


madrassa: Islamic religious school
MoI: Ministry of Interior Affairs of Afghanistan
mujahideen: Islamic ‘holy warriors’. In the context of the conflict of Afghanistan, the term dates back to the 1980s, when it referred to Islamic fighting groups opposed to the communist regime and the military forces of the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Its fighters have since been called mujahideen. Currently, the Taliban refer to their fighters as mujahideen.


NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
NDS: National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence service
NGO: Non-governmental organisation


PDPA: People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan
PGM: Pro-government militia


QD (Qualification Directive): Directive 2011/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection, and for the content of the protection granted


RS: Resolute Support [mission]


Sharia: The religious law of Islam; Islamic canonical law
shura: A decision-making community council; often formed for non-State dispute settlement; made up of a group of people with community authority (elders) to discuss and find solutions to a problem
SIGAR: Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction; an independent oversight body on US-funded reconstruction programs


Targeted/ deliberate killing: Intentional, premeditated and deliberate use of lethal force by States or their agents acting under colour of law or by an organised armed group, party to an armed conflict against a specific individual who is not in the perpetrator’s physical custody.
tazkera: Afghan identity document


Ulema: Body of Muslim scholars who are recognised as having specialist knowledge of Islamic law and theology
UN: United Nations
UNAMA: UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
UNHCR: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
UNOCHA: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
US: United States of America
USDOS: US Department of State
ushr: Islamic tax, referring to 10 % tax on the harvests of irrigated land and 10 % tax on harvest from rain-watered land and 5 % on land dependent on well water.


zina: The crime of adultery; perceived to be deeply shameful and against honour