Last update: November 2021

This profile includes people who belong to the Shia religion. In Afghanistan, 10 to 15 % of the population are Shia Muslim. The majority of the Shia are ethnic Hazara and the two profiles should be read in conjunction (see 2.15.1 Individuals of Hazara ethnicity).

COI summary

The Shia community has been disproportionately represented among civilian casualties in Kabul and Herat. There are reports of attacks against the Shia, especially on places where Shia gather, such as mosques, and during religious commemorations or weddings [COI query on Hazaras, Shias; Security 2020, 1.2, 1.5.2, 2.1].

The ISKP reportedly sees Shias as a legitimate target for killing as they are seen as heretical. The group continued to target Shias in 2019 and in 2020 [COI query on Hazaras, Shias; Anti-government elements, 3.6.1].

UNAMA reported a resurgence of ‘deliberate sectarian motivated attacks against the Shia Muslim religious minority’, mostly the Hazara ethnic minority, for the first half of 2021 [Security September 2021, 1.4.2]. On 27 July 2021, a Taliban attack on the convoy of Sayed Dawood Naderi, head of the Ismaili Council, killed five and wounded two others in Baghlan province [Security September 2021, 2.4]. See also the profile 2.15.1 Individuals of Hazara ethnicity.

Instances of discrimination against the Shia community are also reported [COI query on Hazaras, Shias, 1.1, 1.2; Conflict targeting, 1.2.10,, 2.5].

Risk analysis

The acts to which individuals under this profile could be exposed are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. sectarian attacks). When the acts in question are (solely) discriminatory measures, the individual assessment of whether discrimination could amount to persecution should take into account the severity and/or repetitiveness of the acts or whether they occur as an accumulation of various measures.

The situation of Shia has to be assessed in light of the recent takeover by the Taliban, however, information concerning the policies the Taliban intend to pursue towards the minority is limited. The risk of targeting by ISKP should also be examined. Currently, it is assessed that not all individuals under this profile would face the level of risk required to establish well-founded fear of persecution. The individual assessment of whether there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, such as: area of origin (areas where ISKP has operational capacity present higher risk), participation in religious practices, political activism, etc.

Nexus to a reason for persecution

Available information indicates that persecution of this profile is highly likely to be for reasons of religion.