This country guidance is currently under review. In view of the recent significant changes, notably the Taliban takeover, assessments within this document may no longer be valid. When examining the international protection needs of applicants from Afghanistan, please consider the most up-to-date country of origin information available.
This profile includes people who belong to the Hindu or Sikh religions.
There are no exact numbers available of Hindus and Sikhs currently living in Afghanistan. The numbers have steadily decreased over the past years. It is estimated that there were around 700 000 Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan in the 70s, around 220 000 in 1992 and a few hundreds or thousands today. Hindus and Sikhs currently mostly live in Nangarhar, Ghazni and in Kabul.
Under the Constitution and laws, Hindus and Sikhs are recognised and protected as equal citizens with Muslims. No incidents of mistreatment by the State or by the Taliban were reported during 2018 to 2020. Members of these minority communities sometimes serve in the government.
Attacks, including killings, on Hindus and Sikhs by ISKP in places of worship have been reported. Furthermore, Hindus and Sikhs have encountered crime incidents because of their perceived wealth, land-grabbing, societal discrimination, harassment, and some reported instances of societal violence in Afghanistan.
Sources indicate that Hindus and Sikhs celebrate discreetly in order not to provoke attention of Muslims and have inconspicuous places of worship. A survey released in February 2019 showed that almost all Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan fear for their personal safety (96.8 %), mostly to encounter ISKP (90.6 %).
There are also reports of instances of societal discrimination against Hindus and Sikhs, including in the fields of employment, education, and performance of religious rituals.
The acts to which individuals under this profile could be exposed are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. sectarian attacks). When the acts in question are (solely) discriminatory measures, the individual assessment of whether or not discrimination could amount to persecution should take into account the severity and/or repetitiveness of the acts or whether they occur as an accumulation of various measures.
Not all individuals under this profile would face the level of risk required to establish well-founded fear of persecution. The individual assessment of whether or not there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, in particular their area of origin (e.g. areas where ISKP has operational capacity), etc.
Nexus to a reason for persecution
Available information indicates that persecution of Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan is for reasons of religion.