Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, cascading humanitarian and economic crises threaten the hard-won social and development gains made over the last two decades. Amid significant humanitarian needs, Afghans face constant threats to their human rights—including rights to education and free speech—jeopardizing access to essential services, limiting opportunities to prosper, and barring Afghan women, girls, and other marginalized groups from full participation in society.
The United States government, including USAID, remains committed to the people of Afghanistan despite these unprecedented challenges. USAID delivers critical development assistance to the people of Afghanistan, supporting basic needs, civil society, and human rights.
USAID is focused on meeting basic needs through our support for livelihoods, agriculture, health, and education. We also work to strengthen civil society and human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls. In addition to our development work, USAID’s humanitarian partners provide lifesaving food, shelter, livelihood opportunities, essential health care, and water, sanitation, and hygiene services to better respond to the humanitarian needs generated by conflict, drought, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
OFFICE OF DEMOCRACY, GENDER, AND RIGHTS
The people of Afghanistan live under expanding authoritarianism, growing restrictions to their human rights, and increasing efforts to erase women from society. USAID focuses on strengthening civil society and protecting the human rights of all Afghans. We do this through assistance to Afghan civil society organizations, media groups, journalists, religious and ethnic minorities, women-led organizations, youth, women’s educational institutions, and at-risk women.
OFFICE OF LIVELIHOODS - Agriculture and Economic Growth
According to the United Nations, nine out of 10 people in Afghanistan do not have enough food to eat and extreme poverty is near-universal. Agriculture remains the backbone of Afghanistan’s economy. USAID assistance improves food security and nutrition, increases domestic production, relieves economic stress on vulnerable households, and gives farmers the knowledge, training, and tools to sustainably feed their communities. We help increase cultivation and production of crops such as wheat, beans, fruits, and vegetables. We also help make the livestock and dairy sectors more efficient and profitable for farmers by providing resources such as animal feed and seeds. USAID also sustains and creates livelihoods beyond agriculture. Activities promote economic growth in key sectors, such as carpets, cashmere, and jewelry. These sectors employ mostly women and marginalized people, ensuring their continued employment and income for their families. USAID provides much-needed capital, given the financial crisis, to micro, small, and medium businesses to strengthen their financial stability so they can continue to operate.
OFFICE OF SOCIAL SERVICES - Education, Health, Water and Sanitation
Afghanistan’s education, health, and water and sanitation sectors are increasingly fragile and donor dependent, with Afghan women and girls facing disproportionately limited access to these essential services. The Taliban-imposed ban on girls’ secondary education is one of many examples that demonstrates how the Taliban is holding Afghanistan back and repressing Afghan women and girls. USAID’s social services programs improve access to and quality of essential services through local, community-based, and private sector service providers. Despite ongoing challenges, USAID’s education assistance is focused on increasing access to quality education, particularly for young women and girls; strengthening academic instruction and learning; and improving the safety and wellbeing of educators and students.
In health, our assistance includes a focus on maternal and child health, COVID-19 prevention and response, support for national disease surveillance and rapid response, procurement of essential healthcare supplies and commodities, and private sector engagement. We also work with global partners in areas such as tuberculosis—Afghanistan is a priority country under the U.S. government’s Global Tuberculosis Strategy as well as the Global Fund—immunizations, and water, sanitation, and hygiene.