Many remote areas of Afghanistan never had much infrastructure. Decades of war, a harsh climate and neglect left much of what had been built in rubble. In 2001, most rural villages lacked electricity, running water, or roads to link them to schools, health clinics and gov-ernment services.
Since 2001, USAID has worked with the Afghan government to:
bring an additional 172 megawatts (MW) to Afghanistan’s national power grid;
link more than 3.3 million new customers to the national electric grid;
rehabilitate nearly 2,000 kilometers of roads, including the Afghanistan Ring Road;
provide clean water to more than 615,000 Afghans; and
fund the construction of more than 500 schools and 600 health facilities.
Lack of infrastructure has hobbled Afghan development. Without electricity, businesses could not operate machinery. Households had no running water for drinking, cooking and cleaning, and absence of clean drinking water posed a major public-health challenge. Underdeveloped roads hampered movement of goods to domestic and international markets, and isolated villages from basic government services, even police or military protection. Scarcity of classrooms and medical clinics restricted access to education and quality healthcare. Over the last decade, USAID has invested heavily in rehabilitating and building Afghan infrastructure. The agency now is focusing on improving Afghan government and private-sector ability to operate and maintain this investment.
USAID has helped Afghans increase supplies of reliable electricity; expand access to potable water; design, build, and maintain roads; and design and construct schools, clinics and hospitals. Security threats, forbidding geography and shortages of trained technicians all have presented challenges. USAID remains committed to strengthening Afghan basic infrastructure, creating jobs and stimulating international investment and economic growth.
In 2002, only six percent of Afghans had access to reliable power; today, more than 28% do. Working with the U.S. mili-tary and Afghan government, USAID built and expanded the electricity generation and distribution network in southern Afghanistan. Generation capacity in this politically critical region has doubled, giving 80,000 households in Kandahar and Helmand their first-ever access to reliable electricity. With USAID support, the Afghan government is installing a third turbine at Kajaki Dam, and USAID is supporting a project to connect Afghanistan’s northern and southern electricitye grids. The agency also is working directly with the national electric utility, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), to improve management and revenue collection. This assistance has helped DABS double revenue collections and increase overall power deliveries by 18 percent.
USAID has invested more than $2 billion on the construction and rehabilitation of more than 2,000 kilometers (km) of roads, including Afghanistan’s Ring Road, which connects the country’s five major cities: Herat, Kabul, Kandahar City, Jalalabad, and Mazar-e-Sharif. More than 80 percent of Afghans now live within 50 km of the Ring Road. USAID is focused on safeguarding previous investments and helping the Afghan government and private sector develop the ability and generate the revenue to expand, operate, and maintain the country’s road network. One project is helping the Ministry of Public Works establish a first-ever independent Afghan government road authority and fund, which should improve accountability and efficiency by implementing road-user fees to fund operations and maintenance.
WATER & SANITATION
Only 39.4 percent of rural and 70.9 percent of urban households have access to safe drinking water. The Afghan government and USAID have constructed more than 3,000 wells, primarily in rural communities, to provide reliable clean water for the first time to more than 615,000 Afghans, and nearly 33,000 latrines help to prevent the spread of disease. USAID also supports capacity building for Afghan water and sanitation-service providers and training for officials to manage the water network. These efforts, along with support for commercialization, are promoting cost recovery, revenue collection and the sustainability of our projects.
USAID has funded the design and construction of hundreds of hospitals, clinics, mid-wife and teacher-training centers, high schools, university residences and government office buildings across Afghanistan. Starting in 2007, all USAID-funded buildings have been built to meet the International Building Code seismic standards. Buildings for education in high-demand areas have been a top priority. USAID erected two high schools for 12,000 students in Kabul City and four provincial teacher-training centers in Faryab, Nangarhar, Parwan, and Wardak, and six faculties of higher education facilities in Bamyan, Parwan, Herat, Balkh, Jawzjan and Faryab. The agency is completing two hospitals: the 100-bed Gardez hospital in Paktia Province, and the 20-bed Khair Kot hospital in Paktika Province.
Last updated: September 14, 2014