The EU contributes EUR 17 million to IOM in Afghanistan to support Afghans on the move and vulnerable Afghan populations in the region

25 April 2024, Herat, Afghanistan –  The European Union (EU) signed an agreement worth EUR 17 million with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to improve access to basic services, increase economic opportunities and protection for Afghans on the move and their host communities in Afghanistan. The needs of women and girls are a particular focus of the programme. 

From January 2023 until April 2024, over 1.5 million Afghans returned from Pakistan and Iran. What started as a humanitarian emergency at the country’s border crossings has developed into a crisis in host communities across the country. While communities have opened their homes to the returnees and the country has witnessed an immense campaign on solidarity, the sheer number of new arrivals risks overstretching the scarce available resources. Some of these communities are facing return inflows that amount to more than half of their population. 

The EU’s contribution will enable IOM to provide durable solutions to those most in need and address challenges faced by returnees. IOM will establish Community Resource Centers in the areas of return to provide integrated services and referrals including healthcare, legal assistance, vocational training, and education. Here, women and children who represent the majority of the returnees and are particularly vulnerable will have an environment where their safety, rights, and access to essential services are guaranteed.

“I am deeply moved by the hardship returnees face when being deported to Afghanistan. In a country suffering from poverty and climate change, and in a city that just saw devastating earthquakes, this truly is a crisis within a crisis.”, said Peteris Ustubs, Director for the Middle East, Asia and Pacific of the European Commission’s Department for International Partnerships during the signing ceremony at the IOM transit centre in Herat.

Raffaella Iodice, EU Chargée d’Affaires a.i. to Afghanistan, added “The solidarity of the Afghan people towards their brothers and sisters is an inspiration. We must ensure that communities hosting and helping new arrivals are supported. The partnership with IOM ensures access to essential services and provides protection for Afghan returnees and their host communities. As women and girls can be particularly affected, we make sure that all members of society can benefit”.

"IOM’s continued partnership with the EU has been critical in enabling our teams to reach hundreds of thousands of Afghan returnees and other vulnerable communities in the country”, said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission, Maria Moita. "Thanks to this renewed commitment, we will be able to focus on addressing the immense challenges in the areas of return and contribute to reintegration, social cohesion, and longer-term solutions for those communities."

This additional contribution is part of a 5-year programme that is being implemented across Afghanistan and in four countries in the region. It builds on the EU’s previous support to IOM to improve the well-being of Afghans forced to return to the country.

For more information, please contact:

Itayi Viriri
Senior Regional Media and Communications Officer, Spokesperson, 
IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Contact: Phone +66659390934 - Email 

Avand Azeez Agha
IOM Afghanistan Communications Officer
Contact: Phone +93 79 410 0542 - Email 

Tim Gillmair
Delegation of the European Union to Afghanistan Press Officer
Contact: Phone +32 460 84 32 98 - Email