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Last updated: December 2020

The province of Kandahar has a population of approximately 1 400 000, mainly Pashtuns. It is situated in the south of Afghanistan, bordering Uruzgan and Zabul to the north, Helmand to the west, and Pakistan to the south and east. Kandahar is divided in 18 districts, including two temporary districts. The Ring Road connects the provincial capital of Kandahar with the major population centres of Herat and Kabul. Kandahar has an airport with scheduled passenger services to domestic and international destinations.

Kandahar is reportedly the ‘birthplace’ of the Taliban and therefore has symbolic importance for the group. A relative stability was reported in the central parts of the province, attributed of the role played by local strongman and Police Chief General Abdul Razeq. After his assassination in October 2018, the security situation deteriorated, especially in remote areas, while the central parts remained relatively stable. Most districts were under Taliban control; only the district centres were in the government’s hands. In order to prevent further expansion, the government carries out armed operations, including airstrikes. The Taliban have been unable to launch large scale attacks on the city of Kandahar, however terrorist attacks and targeted killings have taken place.

According to LWJ, four districts were categorised as under Taliban control and eight other districts were contested.

It is reported that NDS arrested several top leaders of ISKP in the province.

ACLED collected data on 1 197 violent events in the period from 1 March 2019 to 30 June 2020 (average of 17.2 incidents per week), of which 687 were coded as ‘battles’, 475 as ‘explosions/remote violence’, and 35 as ‘violence against civilians’.

Examples of incidents include numerous IEDs, which killed civilians, as well as targeted killings, which mainly occurred in the city of Kandahar. Furthermore, airstrikes against Taliban positions were observed. One of the most important causes of civilian deaths in the province were search operations (‘night raids’) by NDS Special Forces.

UNAMA documented 467 civilian casualties (121 death and 346 injured) in 2019, representing 33 civilian victims per 100 000 inhabitants. This was a decrease of 13 % compared to 2018. The leading cause for the civilian casualties were non-suicide and suicide IEDs, followed by search operations.

RS ranked Kandahar in the category of provinces where the number of civilian casualties was between 26 and 50 for the first quarter of 2020, and between 101-125 or the second quarter.

In the period 1 March 2019 – 30 June 2020, 5 051 persons were displaced from the province of Kandahar, mainly within the province itself. In the same period, 5 286 persons were displaced to the province of Kandahar from other provinces, including Helmand, Farah, Daykundi, Uruzgan, and Jawzjan.

Looking at the indicators, it can be concluded that indiscriminate violence is taking place in the province of Kandahar, however not at a high level and, accordingly, a higher level of individual elements is required in order 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, 2.16