Signal Alert is an occasional publication of the Aid Worker Security Database to inform the humanitarian sector of a statistically significant trend, change, or outlier detected in the security environment for aid operations.
An increase in violence against aid workers in 2021 reflects the continuing instability following the February coup, with the direct targeting of aid workers and violent detentions significantly altering the risk environment for aid operations.
After a relative dip in 2020, the number of aid workers affected by major violence in Afghanistan spiked in June 2021, when US troop withdrawals met with a major military push by the Taliban to seize control of the country.
After a two-year decline in fatal attacks against aid workers in South Sudan, killings increased sharply in 2020 and continue at a level not seen since 2016-2017, at a high point of fighting in the civil war.
A sharp increase in vehicle-borne IED attacks in the latter months of 2020 has altered the threat environment for aid workers in northwest Syria. Overall, IED attacks have caused over 1,000 civilian casualties in 2020, among them 10 aid workers.