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Last update: May 2024

In armed conflicts the targeting of civilians may have nexus to one of the reasons for persecution according to the refugee definition. Therefore, refugee status may be granted, as noted in the section above.  

See, for example, the profiles 3.2. Public officials and servants of the former government and judicial system3.7. Human rights defenders, activists and others perceived as critical of the Taliban, 3.8. Journalists and media workers, 3.10. Humanitarian workers, 3.14 Ethnic and religious minorities, and 3.15 Women and girls. Such targeted violence, furthermore, would not be considered ‘indiscriminate’.

Where refugee status is not granted, subsidiary protection needs under Article 15 QD should be examined, including in relation to indiscriminate violence in a situation of armed conflict (Article 15(c) QD).

a. Reference period

The following assessment is based on the EUAA Country Focus 2023, published in December 2023 and concerning the reference period 1 July 2022 – 30 September 2023, and on the COI Update 2024, concerning the reference period 1 October 2023 - 31 January 2024, unless differently specified. Background information from before July 2022 regarding the security situation is also taken into account.

This guidance should be considered valid as long as current events and developments fall within the trends and patterns of violence observed within the reference period of the mentioned COI report. New events and developments that cause substantial changes, new trends or geographical shifts in the violence, may lead to a different assessment. The security situation in a given territory should always be assessed in light of the most up-to-date COI available.


b. Legal framework

All of elements under Article 15(c) QD (Figure 1) have to be fulfilled in order to grant subsidiary protection in accordance with this provision.

Figure 2. Elements of the legal provision of Article 15(c) QD


Common analysis of the factual preconditions and guidance on the possible application of Article 15(c) QD with regard to the situation in Afghanistan are provided in the following sections.

For general guidance on the country guidance approach to the assessment of subsidiary protection needs under Article 15(c) QD, see 'Country Guidance: explained'.