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Sida's work in Afghanistan

The Taliban takeover in August 2021 drastically changed the conditions for aid in Afghanistan. The country is facing economic collapse and a humanitarian crisis. Sida continues to support the Afghan people without direct cooperation with the Afghan state.

Progress has been made

Children in school

Since 2001 and until the Taliban took power, the number of children attending school had increased from around 800,000 to 9 million. The proportion of girls increased from almost zero to 39%. Since the beginning of Covid-19, the proportion of girls and boys attending school has declined, with the proportion of girls having declined the most.1

Declining maternal and child mortality

Over the past two decades, the number of children dying before the age of five has fallen sharply.2 In 2019, newborns were expected to live eight years longer compared to 2001. However, infant and maternal mortality rates remain very high compared to other countries. There is now a high risk that this positive trend will be reversed.

Civil society fights for democracy and human rights

Many organisations are forced to operate from other countries and continue the fight for democracy and human rights in Afghanistan.

Challenges remain


million people are in urgent need of food.3 The country is close to economic and humanitarian collapse after a severe and prolonged drought and deep economic crisis.

Democracy and human rights have deteriorated sharply

Over the past 20 years, relatively free and democratic elections have been held in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban movement came to power, the human rights situation has deteriorated sharply. Key institutions have been dismantled and there is a serious lack of rule of law. It is highly unclear whether free elections will be held in the future.

Increasingly difficult situation of women

Progress in women’s rights and girls’ education over the past 20 years has been severely reversed since the Taliban took power. Gender inequality and discrimination against women and girls is a serious obstacle to the country’s development. Afghanistan is ranked 170th out of 189 countries in the UN Gender Equality Index.4

Development cooperation with Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world and has been plagued by conflict for over 40 years. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on aid from other countries. After the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, many positive steps were taken in areas such as health and education.

In 2015, the security situation deteriorated and the Taliban gradually took control of the country. In August 2021, the government fell and the Taliban took power. This is expected to lead to increased poverty and the loss of much of the progress made. Millions of Afghans are displaced, both at home and in other countries. The country is at risk of economic and humanitarian collapse.5

Sida is closely monitoring developments and analysing the impact on the projects we support. All aid via the Afghan state has been suspended.

Updated: September 28, 2022