Afghanistan Country Profile

Speeches Shim

Afghanistan  Country Profile

After decades of war, Afghanistan is moving toward a more secure, stable, and prosperous future. Despite significant gains made since 2002, Afghanistan faces numerous development challenges that are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As fragile peace negotiations continue between the government and the Taliban, the United States’ enduring partnership with the people of Afghanistan aims to forge an inclusive, self-reliant country that leaves no one behind.

Our Work

The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is preparing for a world altered by COVID-19. In Afghanistan, USAID is adapting to new realities brought to life by the pandemic and is working to effectively address its impact on the people of Afghanistan—especially women and girls. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are at the core of our work. In Afghanistan, strengthening gender equality is critical to all that we do, from bolstering women’s participation in democratic processes and strengthening access to quality health and education, to creating sustainable economic opportunities and advocating for women’s rights.

Democracy and Governance

USAID builds trust between citizens and government, paving the way for a more peaceful, prosperous, and self-reliant Afghanistan. We support good governance, rule of law, anti-corruption, credible and transparent elections, and a vibrant civil society and independent media. Promoting peace and reconciliation, as well as women’s civic and political engagement, is essential to the success of these efforts. USAID has supported the development of Afghanistan’s electoral management bodies through all nine elections since 2002, helping to hold electoral authorities accountable and bolstering transparency. Adjusting to the impact of COVID-19, USAID is maximizing the use of videos and our online, digital presence.

Health

USAID supports the government’s efforts to improve health for all citizens, particularly women, children, and the most vulnerable. USAID has helped reduce the child mortality rate by half since 2002 and helped decrease maternal mortality by 56 percent between 2000 and 2017. Despite the additional challenges posed by COVID-19, USAID is committed to forging a resilient, high-quality health system that is accountable, affordable, and accessible.

Education

Afghanistan is home to one of the youngest populations in the world, making quality education critical to boosting economic growth and democratic development. Yet, cultural expectations and years of conflict and instability impede equal access to education, undermining Afghanistan’s future. The global pandemic compounds these challenges. USAID strengthens institutions so that all students, from primary school to university, have an opportunity to receive a quality education. Since 2008, USAID has helped increase access to education for three million Afghan girls—many for the first time in their lives.

Economic Growth and Agriculture

The COVID-19 pandemic upended trade and pushed Afghanistan’s poverty level to 72 percent of the population by the end of 2020, according to the World Bank. To mitigate the pandemic’s enormous economic consequences, USAID is working to strengthen private sector-driven economic growth and is expanding the reach of Afghan products—especially agricultural goods—to bolster job growth, build Afghan brand recognition around the world, and boost Afghan families’ incomes. USAID has facilitated more than $1.41 billion in increased sales of agricultural products in Afghanistan since 2006, supporting the creation of over 657,000 full-time jobs.

Infrastructure

Threats to security, a forbidding geography, and a shortage of trained technicians challenge the Government of Afghanistan’s efforts to build a safe and reliable infrastructure system. For nearly 20 years, USAID has partnered with the government to maintain existing infrastructure, expand access to electricity and potable water, and increase private sector investment. USAID has helped to expand access to power from just four percent of the population to 36 percent over the past eight years. Despite COVID-19, USAID continues to partner with the Government of Afghanistan to bolster infrastructure development across the country.

Humanitarian Assistance

The United States is the largest humanitarian assistance donor helping Afghans affected by natural disasters and the ongoing conflict. USAID supports the Government of Afghanistan's disaster planning and response capabilities. Our humanitarian response includes the delivery of food, shelter, safe drinking water, hygiene supplies, and other critical relief. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID bolstered support for the most-impacted communities, particularly through increased food, health, and hygiene promotion assistance. 

Issuing Country 
Date 
Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 2:00pm

Last updated: April 15, 2021