2002 - 2005


USAID/OTI played a leading role in development assistance to Afghanistan beginning in October 2001, when it began postwar planning from Pakistan. Responding to rapidly unfolding events in October and November 2001, USAID/OTI supported the development of relevant, accurate and timely information on humanitarian assistance, particularly for internally displaced persons. By early January 2002, USAID/OTI advisers were in Afghanistan setting up mechanisms by which rapid, flexible and targeted assistance to the Afghan government and population could be provided.


USAID/OTI’s overall goal was to support the process of recovery, rehabilitation and political development in post-conflict Afghanistan. USAID/OTI activities supported USAID strategic priorities, which included infrastructure, food security, economic development, democracy and governance, education and health. Working with central and provincial governments, national and international non-governmental organizations, community councils and media outlets, USAID/OTI supported critical initiatives that facilitated implementation of the Bonn Agreement and provided rapid, highly visible support designed to establish governmental credibility, legitimacy and space for long-term development programs.


  • USAID/OTI supported the rehabilitation of an underground irrigation system in a village near Ghazni, which had been without a fully operational one for more than 20 years due to drought and conflict. The rehabilitated irrigation system not only provided the villagers with water, but also resulted in increased community confidence in the government’s ability to respond to their needs.  Activities such as this resulted in villagers’ subsequent efforts to register to vote in the 2004 presidential election.
  • USAID/OTI helped develop the capacity of Afghan media through the establishment of independent media outlets, development and distribution of radio programs and print publications, and training for journalists.

2009 - 2016


In early 2012, USAID/OTI recognized the vulnerability of local communities suffering from weak governance and intercommunal disputes being exploited by violent insurgents. Despite the role that tribal and community leaders play in maintaining local stability, they had been marginalized in formal government-led reconstruction efforts, especially in areas where government reach was limited or non-existent. This disconnect between the local government and tribally organized constituencies hampered the Government of Afghanistan’s ability to counter insurgent influence.

In late 2014, Afghanistan held a presidential election marking the first time in Afghanistan’s history that power was democratically transferred.  Also, NATO forces officially ended over a decade of combat operations as international forces transitioned to a non-combat role in support of the Afghan National Security Forces. USAID/OTI worked to build community cohesion and local support for legitimate government processes in the lead up to and in the wake of these historic milestones.


Launched in February 2012, USAID/OTI’s Community Cohesion Initiative (CCI) worked to strengthen the resilience of communities in the face of political and social upheaval, insurgent infiltration and other pressures. Specifically, CCI contributed to:

  • Increase cohesion within and between communities;
  • Support peaceful and legitimate governance processes and outcomes; and
  • Counter violent extremism.


CCI used clusters of community-focused small grants to strengthen vulnerable communities. These small-grant activities promoted local ownership of project processes and results. Examples of activities include:

  • Mitigating potential electoral violence by broadcasting 25,880 radio and 1,139 TV messages and distributing 285,155 printed materials to promote peaceful elections.
  • Rehabilitating 103 roads in response to community-identified needs to improve access and increase trust between communities and local government officials.
  • Supporting the development of over 300 localized cell phone audio and video messages to promote peace and counter violent extremist propaganda.

2020 - 2021


The Afghanistan Peace Support Initiative (PSI) was a short-term program that contributed to the peace process through strengthening support among Afghans for a sustainable resolution to the country’s ongoing conflict. Public consent is essential to sustainable peace, and as such, PSI strived to promote Afghan ownership of the peace process, improve knowledge of the negotiations—including through support to the Government of Afghanistan’s peace messaging—and garner public consensus. PSI also contributed research to inform USAID and other stakeholders as they developed policy and programming to build peace and successfully reinforce reductions in violence at the local level. The program’s objectives were to:

  • Improve inclusivity among Afghans in their engagement with the peace negotiations and process;

  • Improve Afghans' understanding of, and manage their expectations about, the peace negotiations; and  

  • Foster public desire for political reconciliation, progress, and unity.


  • USAID/OTI helped improve the Government of Afghanistan’s outreach and communications capacity and supported a series of training and outreach events to build its media relations with Afghan journalists.  

  • USAID/OTI supported civil society partners) to highlight the human cost of the war and  share the experiences of a variety of Afghans affected by conflict, including those who have been displaced and families who lost loved ones.

  • USAID/OTI supported a variety of research, including research to identify narratives on social media about the peace process by targeting vulnerable communities and to map social cohesion within target communities. 

Map of Afghanistan