We have published our review of the UK’s aid investment in Afghanistan, and we expect the government’s response to be published in the New Year.
The Taliban takeover in August 2021 ended a 20-year international military and civilian intervention to stabilise Afghanistan and rebuild its institutions, economy and society. Despite receiving tens of billions in international aid throughout the intervention, the country is now in a state of near collapse after the withdrawal of international military and financial support, economic sanctions and the freezing of Afghan state assets. It is currently estimated that over 90% of people in Afghanistan are living in extreme poverty, with 24.4 million people in need of humanitarian support.
The UK has been a major provider of development and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan since the beginning of the international military intervention in 2001 and Afghanistan has consistently ranked among the top recipients of UK aid. However, the UK’s objectives and chosen methods for delivering aid to Afghanistan have evolved over the years.
The UK government committed to “continuing to support stability in Afghanistan, as part of a wider coalition” in the Integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy, published in February 2021. However, following the withdrawal of international forces and the Taliban’s de facto control, development assistance to Afghanistan by the UK and other donors has been halted. The UK continues to contribute to humanitarian support through multilateral channels.
This country portfolio review examines the relevance, coherence and effectiveness of the UK’s aid investment in Afghanistan from 2014. An additional non-evaluative chapter covers UK aid spending on humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan from August 2021 to present.