UK aid to Afghanistan

This review examines the relevance, coherence and effectiveness of the UK’s aid investment in Afghanistan since 2014.

Score: Amber/Red
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 24 November 2022
  3. Type: Country portfolio review
  4. Subject: Country focus, Fragile states, Humanitarian assistance, Women and girls
  5. Assessment: Amber/Red
  6. Location: Afghanistan
  7. Lead commissioner: Sir Hugh Bayley
  8. SDGs covered:No poverty, Peace, justice and strong institutions, Quality education, Gender equality

Read the approach paper

Our approach

This country portfolio review examines the relevance, coherence and effectiveness of the UK’s aid investment in Afghanistan from 2014, when the deteriorating security situation led the former Department for International Development (DFID) to close its office and programmes in Helmand Province, up to the international military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.

The review assesses how well the UK’s aid portfolio in Afghanistan delivered on its strategic objectives, as they evolved over the review period, with a particular focus on i) alleviating humanitarian need, ii) empowering women and girls, and iii) building core state functions.

It looks at the UK’s use of different delivery channels, its management of the risks associated with the challenging operating context and the quality of the UK’s partnerships. It also examines how the UK has learnt from other donors and passed on its own learning.

The review incorporates a factual account of how UK aid has been used in response to the humanitarian crisis that followed the Taliban takeover. The process of the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 was not funded by aid and therefore was not covered in the review.

Review questions

We sought to answer the following review questions:

  1. How well did the UK aid portfolio respond to Afghanistan’s humanitarian and development needs and the UK’s strategic objectives?
  2. How effectively did the UK aid portfolio deliver against its strategic objectives in Afghanistan?
  3. How internally and externally coherent was UK support for Afghanistan?



Published 21 June 2022

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 24 November 2022

Government response

Published 10 January 2023

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 21 February 2023

Information note publication

Published 18 May 2023

Further scrutiny

Follow-up published 16 May 2024