1.6 million people fled from Afghanistan since Taliban takeover, UNICEF says

The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has stated that 1.6 million people have fled from Afghanistan since the Taliban assumed power two years ago.

In a recent report, the UN agency indicates that more than 8.2 million people from Afghanistan have sought protection and asylum outside the country as of June 2023, mainly living in Iran and Pakistan but also in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

Among them include 2.1 million registered refugees and 1.6 million others who arrived since August 2021 when the Taliban overtook power.

Iran has been hosting more than three million of these refugees for almost four decades while 3.7 million refugees remain in Pakistan.

“In the first half of 2023, UNICEF provided critical support to Afghans and host community members in the five neighboring countries,” the UNICEF report stated, adding that across these countries, UNICEF and partners reached 210,000 children with measles vaccination, 13,000 malnourished children with treatment and 102,000 children with access to education.

In 2023, UNICEF appealed for US$66.2 million to meet the essential needs of refugee children from Afghanistan and their families in these host countries.

Despite generous support from international partners, the UN agency said it has only received 33% of the funding, while a funding gap of US$44.4 million (67%) remains as of June 2023.