Afghanistan (April 1995)
by Humanitarian Policy Network April 1995

The emergence of a new military force – Taleban – has had a major impact on the evolution of the Afghan conflict. Taleban means ‘seekers’, and is generally applied to Islamic theology students. Some are trained fighters, having fought with the Mujahideen against the Soviet army.

Apparently they lost faith in the Mujahideen leadership after the Soviet withdrawal.

The Taleban have been pushed southwards from Kabul to Muhammed Aga and Maydan Shar after losing control of Charasyab. However, in Western Afghanistan, the militia appears to have taken the province of Nimroz and most of Farah.

The UN peace process is still under way, but the previously agreed deadline for President Rabbani to hand over to an interim Council has been deferred. The Iranian Government has announced that it will not renew the temporary residence permits of half a million Afghan refugees in Iran. They are to be given the option of returning to Afghanistan or being transferred to camps in Iran.

The Iranian Government added that it would only accept new refugees in exceptional circumstances, raising concern that if fighting intensified, Iran could not be relied on as a refuge. UNHCR suggests that sympathy for the Afghans has declined because of the deteriorating economic situation in Iran itself. The population in Kabul is considered to be facing a severe nutritional and health situation. High levels of wasting and limited food security are reported in the city. Those living in camps in Jalalabad are considered to be at moderate risk, because of the erratic supply of general rations and low levels of immunisation.