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.
Serious and individual threat to a civilian’s life or person by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict
The necessary elements in order to apply Article 15(c) QD are:
In order to apply Article 15(c) QD the above elements should be established cumulatively.
The following is a summary of the relevant conclusions concerning the situation in Afghanistan:
a. Armed conflict: Internal armed conflict within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD takes place in the territory of Afghanistan and the security situation in the country is volatile.
It should be noted that actively taking part in hostilities is not limited to openly carrying arms but could also include substantial logistical and/or administrative support to combatants.
It is important to underline that the assessment of protection needs is forward-looking. Therefore, the main issue at hand is whether the applicant will be a civilian or not upon return. The fact that the person took part in hostilities in the past would not necessarily mean that Article 15(c) QD would not be applicable to him or her.
c. Indiscriminate violence: Indiscriminate violence takes place to a different degree in different parts of the territory of Afghanistan. The map below summarises and illustrates the assessment of indiscriminate violence per province. This assessment is based on a holistic analysis, including quantitative and qualitative information for the reference period (1 March 2019 - 30 June 2020). Up-to-date country of origin information should always inform the individual assessment.
No province in Afghanistan is currently assessed to reach such an exceptionally high level of violence that ‘mere presence’ on the territory would be considered sufficient in order to establish a real risk of serious harm under Article 15 (c) QD. 
For the purposes of the guidance note, the provinces of Afghanistan are categorised as follows:
Provinces where ’mere presence’ in the area would not be sufficient to establish a real risk of serious harm under Article 15(c) QD, however, indiscriminate violence reaches a high level, and, accordingly, a lower level of individual elements is required to show substantial grounds for believing that a civilian, returned to the territory, would face a real risk of serious harm within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD.
This includes the following provinces:
Provinces where indiscriminate violence is taking place, however not at a high level and, accordingly, a higher level of individual elements is required in order to show substantial grounds for believing that a civilian, returned to the territory, would face a real risk of serious harm within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD.
This includes the following provinces:
Provinces where indiscriminate violence is taking place at such a low level that in general there is no real risk for a civilian to be personally affected by reason of indiscriminate violence within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD. However, individual elements always need to be taken into account as they could put the applicant in risk-enhancing situations.
d. Serious and individual threat: Certain applicants may be considered at enhanced risk of indiscriminate violence, including its direct and indirect consequences due to, inter alia: geographical proximity to areas which are targeted by violence, age, gender, health condition and disabilities, lack of a social network, etc.
Profiles at enhanced risk of indiscriminate violence could include, for example:
e. Threat to life or person: The risk of harm as per Article 15(c) QD is formulated as a ‘threat to a civilian’s life or person’ rather than as a (threat of) a specific act of violence. Some of the commonly reported types of harm to civilians’ life or person in Afghanistan include killings, injuries, abductions, disabilities caused by landmines, etc.