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The province of Faryab is situated in the north-western region of Afghanistan and has a population of approximately 1 109 000. The main ethnic group in the province are Uzbeks. Faryab borders Jawzjan, Sar-e Pul, Ghor and Badghis, and has an international border with Turkmenistan. It consists of 14 districts. Faryab is strategically important, as it connects the western parts of the country with the north. A part of the Ring Road leads through Faryab, connecting the province with the neighbouring Jawzjan and the regional centre Mazar-e Sharif in Balkh. Scheduled air passenger services between Maymana and Kabul are provided.
Faryab is reportedly among the most insecure provinces in the north of Afghanistan and an active front in the conflict. Very widespread Taliban presence has been reported in the province, with the group also recruiting among Uzbeks for high-level posts. There is active fighting for control over certain regions.
Seven of the districts of the province were categorised by LWJ as contested, five districts were categorised as under Taliban control and two districts were categorised as under government control.
Sources report presence of small groups of ISKP (and IMU) in the province, although no incidents related to ISKP have been reported.
ACLED collected data on 579 violent events in the period from 1 March 2019 to 30 June 2020 (average of 8.3 incidents per week), 422 of which were coded as ‘battles’, 135 as ‘explosions/remote violence’ and 22 as ‘violence against civilians’. Qaysar and Pashtunkot stood out as districts where most incidents were reported.
Examples of incidents include mainly attacks of Taliban on Afghan security forces, as well as intense attacks on villages and districts centres, resulting into hour-long clashes. Civilian casualties were reported following Taliban attacks on security forces. Other casualties were the result of air / drone strikes and mortar shelling.
Further impact on the civilian population included Taliban fighting over control of highways and the setup of checkpoints on important highways.
UNAMA documented 665 civilian casualties (199 deaths and 466 injured) in 2019, representing 60 civilian victims per 100 000 inhabitants. This was an increase of 3 % compared to 2018. The leading causes for the civilian casualties were ground engagements, followed by airstrikes and explosive remnants of war. UNAMA ranked Faryab among the five provinces where civilians were most affected by the conflict, documenting 233 civilian casualties in the province in the first half of 2020.
RS ranked Faryab in the category of provinces where the number of civilian casualties was between 51 and 75 for the first quarter of 2020; between 51 and 75 civilian casualties were also recorded in the second quarter.
In the period 1 March 2019 – 30 June 2020, 38 222 persons were displaced from the province of Faryab, mostly from Pashtunkot, Khwasjasabzposh and Garziwan districts. 71 % of the IDPs remained in the province itself. In addition, some internal displacement was reported to Faryab from Badghis, Balkh, Ghor, Jawzjan, Kunduz and Sar-e Pul provinces.
Looking at the indicators, it can be concluded that ‘mere presence’ in the area would not be sufficient to establish a real risk of serious harm under Article 15(c) QD in the province of Faryab, however, indiscriminate violence reaches a high level, and, accordingly, a lower level of individual elements is required to show substantial grounds for believing that a civilian, returned to the territory, would face a real risk of serious harm within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD.
Main COI reference: Security situation 2020, 2.9