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U.N. Warns of Alarming Rise in Number of Displaced Afghans | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Afghan refugees gather for renewal of their family cards at the Chamkany registration center on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, December 31, 2015. AFP

Kabul- The number of people who have fled their homes for safer parts of Afghanistan has hit a record high, the United Nations said Wednesday.

As of November 30, 2016, more than half a million Afghans — 515,800 people — had been internally displaced by fighting, surpassing a previous record of 471,000 set last year, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The figure has more than doubled since 2014, pointing to a sharp increase in the number of people leaving their homes due to escalating violence in the war-torn country.

With the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Taliban launched a bloody insurgency that has since spread to previously safer parts of the country.

The violence has been driven in particular in the past two years, by Taliban’s repeated assaults on Afghan cities, which puts more civilians in the crosshairs.

According to U.N. data, a record 198 out of 399 districts of Afghanistan are now reporting conflict-induced displacement, and for the first time, all 34 provinces are hosting IDPs.

“I am concerned these record figures show not just an alarming number of new IDPs, but a longer term crisis where increasing numbers of families in Afghanistan are facing prolonged displacement,” Mark Bowden U.N. humanitarian coordinator said in a statement, referring to internally displaced people.

The UNOCHA said it had received 54 percent of the $152 million in emergency funding it needs to address the immediate needs of internally displaced people in Afghanistan.