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

Latest news

We have published our review of the UK’s aid investment in Afghanistan. The government’s response to this review has also been published. We completed our follow-up report in May 2024.


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.

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals relevant to this review are:

  • Sustainable Development Goal 1: No poverty
  • Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality education
  • Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender equality



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