Afghanistan in April 2022 - Key News


The Taliban issued a ban on opium poppy cultivation on 3rd April 2022 [Report]. According the Taliban's supreme leader's decree, cultivation of poppy and producing, using, trading, importing, and exporting any intoxicants such as heroin, wine, tablets, cannabis, and so on are strictly prohibited. The decree also states that poppy crops would be burned and farmers would face punishments under Shari’a law.

On April 2, The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres raised deep concerns over the closure of education doors to girls in Afghanistan, saying the Taliban’s decision is an unjustifiable violation of human rights in the country and the suspension of girls’ education will have a great impact for the future of Afghanistan.

Mr. Guterres has further said: “Respecting and protecting the rights of Afghan women and girls saves children from starvation and communities from poverty.”

According to the Foreign Minister of the De Facto authorities, the Chinese government has welcomed their diplomats to Afghanistan Embassy in Beijing, adding significant improvements are made in bilateral relations between the two countries. Amir Khan Muttaqi stated that welcoming our diplomats, easing export options to China, and facilitating the recent meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbouring foreign ministers is an indication of the sincerer intention of China towards Afghanistan.

Iranian media reported, referring to sources at the Iranian Foreign Ministry that a Taliban diplomat has arrived in Tehran to oversee and run the affairs of the Afghanistan Embassy in Iran.

According to Iranian media, following the publication of reports about the acceptance of Taliban diplomats by Tehran, informed sources have reported that only one Taliban diplomat has entered Tehran.


The month of April witnessed a spike in security incidents across the country. The security incidents were caused by suicide bombers, implanted explosive devises, target killings, and clashes between the Taliban and armed anti-Taliban groups. Meanwhile, the Pakistani air forces violated the Afghan airspace and killed civilians in Kunar and Khost provinces. Reports on the number of causalities and the cause of the incidents are often contested due to Taliban censorship of the media organizations and journalists.

April 3rd: One civilian was killed and 15 to 20 more were wounded in an explosion at Kabul foreign currency exchange market (Sarai Shahzadaa).

Two IEDs exploded on 2nd April 2022 in Jibraiel township of Anjil district of Herat province. Five people were killed and 23 others were wounded [Report]. The victims belong to the Hazara ethnic group.

On April 7, a bomb blast targeted worshippers in Pul-e-Kheshti Grand Mosque in central Kabul killing and wounding 24 civilians.

At least six people were killed and 11 were wounded in three blasts that rocked a boys' school in a Shi'ite Hazara neighbourhood of Dasht-e-Barchi in Kabul on April 19 [Report].

A series of explosions killed more than 20 people and wounded 58 more in Mazar-e-Sharif city on April 21. The deadly blasts targeted a Shi'ite mosque. The infamous Islamic State- Khurasan claimed the responsibility of the attack [Report].

An explosion at a mosque and religious school in Imam Saheb district of Kunduz province killed at least 33 people and wounded 43 more, mostly students, a Taliban official said on April 22. The United Nations called the attack “horrific.” Deputy special representative to Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov said on Twitter that “killings must stop now and perpetrators brought to justice.”[Report]

On April 28, two explosions targeting two minibuses of apparently Shi'ite passengers killing nine people and wounded 13 in Mazar-e-Sharif city in Balkh Province [Report].

On 30 April, a suicide bomber targeted a congregation of Sunni Muslims who had gathered for Friday prayers in Sufi mosque on Darul Aman road in Kabul city. At least 50 worshippers died in the attack. An anonymous health worker told Reuters that hospitals had received more than 65 dead and at least 78 wounded [Report].

Five children, including a girl, were killed in a blast caused by unexploded ordinance in Marjah district of Helman province on 1st April 2022. The victims were reportedly playing with a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) shell. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised concerns in a report that at least 301 children have been killed and wounded during the last seven months in Afghanistan as a result of the explosion of remnants of war in the country.

A roadside implanted explosive device exploded on a Taliban vehicle in district 5 of Kabul wounding at least two militants. Local sources in Kabul Province have reported that an explosion has occurred on Silo Road on the evening of April 2 [Report].

April 3: an IED targeted the vehicle of Taliban Chief of Security for Badakhshan province in Faizabad city on 3rd April. Two of his bodyguards were killed and he was wounded [Report].

April 7: Kabul – Local sources in Helmand province have confirmed that as a result of U.S. airstrikes on a weapons depot in Helmand province, 30 Taliban militants are killed. According to sources, the U.S. carried out a drone attack on the Taliban’s weapons depot last week at Shorabak Airport.

Localities have also confirmed that a loud voice of explosion was heard in the weapons depot at the Shorabak Military Airport.

Afghan media outlets reported several clashes between the Taliban and the National Resistance Front loyal to Ahmad Masoud in Panjshir, Takhar, and Baghlan provinces during the month April. The NRF claimed to have killed and wounded dozens of Taliban fighters in multiple attacks against the Taliban and while defending their positions. The claims were initially rejected by the de facto authorities but later confirmed to justify their counter offensive against the NRF and house-to-house search operations in the villages of these provinces. The Taliban deny the killing of their fighters by the NRF.

Kabul – The relatives of Qasim Qaim, an ex-officer of the former government of Afghanistan, have confirmed that the Taliban rebels tortured and murdered Qasim Qaim after his detention. The relatives of Qasim Qaim have told Hasht-e Subh that the Taliban arrested Mr. Qaim after his return to duty based on an assurance.

More than 30 civilians were killed by the Pakistani air strike on refugee camp in Spera District of Khost province on April 16 [Report]. The airstrike was carried out in response to the alleged cross-border attacks of the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as Pakistani Taliban, on Pakistani military and police targets [Report]

The Pakistani Army carried out an airstrike in Sheltan district of Kunar province, which willed five members of a family including four children and woman on 16 April 2022 Report.

The Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) said on April 18 that it had fired 10 rockets at an Uzbek military base in the border town of Termiz, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks terrorist propaganda.Uzbek presidential spokesman Sherzod Asadov denied the claim on April 19, calling on Uzbek citizens to disregard what he called "provocations."

"The information distributed by some Telegram channels about a so-called rocket attack from the territory of Afghanistan at units of Uzbekistan's armed forces near the town of Termiz absolutely do not correspond to the reality. According to the Defence Ministry and Uzbekistan's border guard troops, there are no active military developments along the Uzbek-Afghan border, the situation is stable," Asadov said in a statement placed on Telegram Report.

Taliban restrictions

On April 1, The Taliban militants closed the Musa ibn Jafar mosque of Shia followers in district 5 of Kabul city. The Taliban did not disclose the reasons for closing the mosque. The prayers were forced to offer congregational prayer on the road and sidewalk, following the seal of the mosque. The mosque was reopened three days later after community elders offered guarantee to the Taliban.

The Taliban de facto government merged the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission of the country with Administrative Office. The commission had 850 male and 120 were female staff in the previous government. Taliban expelled 620 staff employees arguing that the department is over sized and needs to be downsized. The remaining 350 employees will continue serving the commission but not as an independent department.

The Ministry of Higher Education of the de facto authorities issued a letter to higher educational institutions instructing them to avoid arranging co-conferences on 4 April 2022.The letter further states that female students and graduates are also not allowed to participate in programs led by men, and has instructed that all public and private universities should arrange graduation ceremonies separately for male and female students. Posting pictures and videos of graduation ceremonies on social media are strongly prohibited.

The Taliban’s Education Directorate in Badakhshan province ordered its entire staff to grow beards and wear hats or turbans during congregational prayers on 5 April 2022. Th Taliban also warned the department’s employees that they will fire the violators of the order.

The Taliban militants arrested 11 women accused of disrupting the support program arranged by the Taliban in the centre of the province on April 2, 2022. Three of the arrested women were charged with taking down the banners and eight others were arrested for disrupting the program. A week prior to their arrest, the Taliban militants had arranged a program to show women supporting their de facto government. But the scenario changed as the women figured out the motive behind the program and demanded the reopening of schools’ doors to girls. The women left the program by tearing down the banners and shouting against the Taliban’s policies and ideologies.

The Taliban’s Virtue Promoters in Parwan province destroyed the Afghanistan Press Victims Tribune in the centre of Parwan province.

Parwez Aminzada, spokesman for the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) and an elected youth representative of Parwan province, confirmed the incident. He further added that the Taliban’s Virtue Promoters have destroyed the banners and photographs of 100 journalists from across the 34 provinces of the country pinned on the wall as a memorial of their scarifies for the freedom of speech and press in Afghanistan.

On 18 April, The Taliban authorities instructed the residents of Garmsir district of Helmand province to pay the tithes and Zakat to Taliban designated clerics at mosques or face severe punishments.

Media and civil society

During April, several journalists, media staff, and staff of journalist protection organizations were reportedly arrested and tortured in different parts of the country. The Taliban also prevented journalists from reporting the recent terrorist attacks that killed and wounded civilians.

The rise in persecution of journalists was reflected in an open letter dated 12 April by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) to Richard Bennett, the UN’s new special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Afghanistan, calling for urgent action to defend journalists and press freedom in Afghanistan. According to RSF, arbitrary arrests are on the rise and a climate of fear has taken hold in all media outlets in the country.

As stated by RSF’s letter, despite a claim by the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, the press freedom situation has worsened dramatically, journalists are being arrested arbitrarily and new restrictions have been imposed on them and media outlets. The letter states that restrictions on the media and journalists have increased since the beginning of 2022 and that Taliban intelligence members have unilaterally stopped broadcasting programs and directly detained journalists.

The Pul-e- Sorkh Cultural Centre located in district 3 of Kabul city closed down its operation and its properties were put on sale. The Pul-e-Surkh cultural center was exhibiting books, paintings, calligraphy, handicrafts, and conducting education and cultural events. The centre had visitors from every segment of society. The recent changes and economical crises have left no option but to close the center.

The de facto authorities in Ghazni province ordered the media outlets to coordinate their commercial advertisements with the department of information and culture of the province before its publication on 26 April. The local media in the province have raised concerns over the new restrictions, saying that with the implementation of this plan, they will have to wait every day for the approval and rejection of a commercial announcement.

The Taliban have sentenced two civil activists and a journalist to one to two years in prison over posting comments on their Facebook pages against the Taliban regime in Herat province on April 27

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed concerns about the baseless detention of journalists and two staff members of the Committee to Protect Journalists in Ghor province.

UNAMA has recently tweeted concerning the recent reports on the Taliban’s arbitrary and illegal detention of journalists by the rebels on the basis of the false ideology of terror and torture. The organization has condemned and perceived the Taliban’s behaviors as being against the values and morals of basic Human rights.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists has issued a statement which is also re-tweeted by UNAMA, calling on the Taliban to immediately release Ghulam Rabbani, who is under their custody without any legitimate reason The committee has further asked the Taliban for clarification of his detention in accordance with the law and regulation.

Humanitarian, health, and refugees

On April 6, Abdullah al-Dardari, Head of the United Nations Development Program in Afghanistan (UNDP) stated that more humanitarian aid is needed to respond to the crises in Afghanistan. He has called on the international community to refine their strategies with the current realities of Afghanistan and ensure their long-term strategies would work for a better Afghanistan.

He has further stated that restoring the livelihoods in Afghanistan is the only option to fight back against the rising humanitarian crisis in this country.

Based on the UN report, Afghanistan’s gross domestic product has decreased by 25 percent since the Taliban rebels have taken over control of the country.

Food and Agriculture Organization, a sub-agency of the United Nations (FAO) has expressed concerns regarding the situation of farmers and ranchers in Afghanistan on 7th April.

The FAO has reported that the organization is trying to help the farmers and ranchers during this hard time. Due to financial barriers and challenges, the farmers are unable to buy improved agricultural seeds, which has affected the availability of improved feeds for animals and the ranchers are also financially not in a stable position.

The organization has further emphasized that some ranchers have sold out their animals at low prices due to lack of feed and financial problems.

April 7: Local sources in Kapisa province have reported that a number of private banks have stopped their operations in this province.The source declares that for a couple of days Aziz Bank and New Kabul Banks have closed their doors without any notifications.

In a statement, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) announced that the organization has paid the salaries of at least 26,000 health workers since the collapse of the former government.

The organization has reported that these numbers of health workers in 3,000 health centres are covered by the United Nations throughout Afghanistan.

A number of Kabul residents have confirmed that a father set himself on fire in front of his four-year-old child due to economic problems. The man burned himself in Dehmazang Square in district 3 of Kabul city on Monday, April 18. The man later died in hospital.

It is not the first case that the breadwinner of the family tries to commit suicide due to unemployment and poverty. Since the Taliban seized power, similar cases of selling body parts such as kidneys, selling children, and committing suicide for the sack of poverty have significantly increased.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has once again voiced its deep concerns over the hunger crisis in Afghanistan. As reported by OCHA, 95 percent of people in Afghanistan are struggling with food insecurity in the country. According to OCHA, millions of people in Afghanistan are facing an unprecedented food and malnutrition crisis, adding the world must not forget the people of Afghanistan.

Many residents of Samangan, Aybak city, the center of the province, reported that measles increased in the province, adding a large number of their children were infected with measles.

The residents further have added that due to lack of medical facilities for measles, they have to travel to neighbouring provinces for treatment.

In addition, they have called on the local Taliban members in the province and aid agencies in the health sector to address the problem; otherwise, many children are at risk to die in this province.

On 8th April, a video went viral on Afghan social media showing several Iranian police officers standing idly as an angry mob beats a young Afghan man. The 30-second video, shared widely this week on social media, purportedly shows a group of Iranian men assaulting a young Afghan migrant.

The videos put the spotlight on the widespread abuse and discrimination suffered by members of Iran’s sizeable Afghan community, many of whom have no legal status or basic rights. An estimated 3 million Afghans, mostly of them undocumented refugees, live in Iran.

April 11, a large number of residents in Herat and Khost provinces protested against the recent incidents concerning the torture of Afghan refugees by the state-backed angry Iranians. According to local sources, protesters in front of the Iranian consulate in Herat province have chanted slogans such as “where are human rights defenders?”