UK humanitarian aid to Afghanistan 2021-23

This note provides a factual account of the UK’s aid response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan since August 2021.

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 18 May 2023
  3. Type: Information note
  4. Subject: Country focus, Fragile states, Humanitarian assistance, Women and girls
  5. Assessment: Unrated
  6. Location: Afghanistan
  7. Lead commissioner: Sir Hugh Bayley

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This note acknowledges that the UK has been an active and significant donor to Afghanistan – including through co-hosting a high-level pledging conference and using its presidency of the G7 to lead international discussions. However, it finds that UK funding has now fallen sharply following successive aid budget reductions and the unprecedented scale of Official Development Assistance (ODA) utilisation for housing refugees in the UK.

Proposed lines of enquiry

  1. How should the UK and other donors maximise the impact of humanitarian assistance while minimising the benefits which accrue to the de facto authorities?
  2. How can the UK move beyond a crisis response towards other modes of development assistance that build durable local capacities and reduce dependence on humanitarian aid?
  3. What strategy should the UK and other donors adopt to preserve, as far as possible, the rights and opportunities which women and girls won before 2021?
  4. How should the UK respond to the risk that other donors may disengage from Afghanistan as a result of growing insecurity and the Taliban edicts?
  5. Should the UK consider making the case within the international community for wider engagement with the Taliban, without implying that this would lead to recognition or normalisation of relations?
  6. What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of the UK re-establishing a physical presence within Afghanistan, when security conditions allow, to exercise more effective oversight of UK aid?
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