Following the Taliban's takeover in August 2021, economic and political instability in Afghanistan has resulted in further deterioration of basic services provision across the country, increased prices for fuel and staple foods, reduced household purchasing power, and exacerbated vulnerabilities that constrain the ability of Afghan households to meet their basic needs. Nearly 60 percent of the population, or 23.7 million people of the more than 40 million people in Afghanistan, are in need of humanitarian assistance as of 2024. Moreover, recurrent climatic shocks—including drought, earthquakes, and floods—continue to result in humanitarian need and increase the vulnerability of at-risk populations throughout Afghanistan. In October 2023, four magnitude 6.3 earthquakes struck northwestern Afghanistan’s Herat Province, resulting in widespread humanitarian need within the province. Additionally, an influx of Afghan returnees have arrived from Pakistan since early October, following the Government of Pakistan’s announcement of its intent to repatriate undocumented Afghans, up to 1.3 million people, beginning in November. Most Afghan returnees require food assistance, education and health services, and livelihood opportunities in their areas of return.
Taliban restrictions—including the December 2022 and April 2023 directives barring Afghan women from working for non-governmental organizations and UN agencies—continue to obstruct aid operations throughout the country and limit women and girls’ access to humanitarian assistance. USAID remains committed to supporting partners and providing humanitarian assistance in areas and sectors where female aid workers are able to participate in aid delivery and directly reach women and girls with assistance. With USAID support, humanitarian partners are providing emergency food and nutrition assistance, health care services, and livelihoods, multipurpose cash, protection, shelter, livelihoods, and water, sanitation, and hygiene support to at-risk populations—including earthquake and other disaster-affected individuals—countrywide.