Afghanistan

Garlic farmer Zahra with her crop, the first year she has planted it.

Villages in parts of Bamiyan province have largely been left out of development programs that have benefited other parts of Afghanistan, but CRS and Caritas New Zealand are developing programs to address the issues specific to these villages. Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS

Background

Despite U.S. efforts to quell insurgent attacks and to help build a functional state, Afghanistan remains mired in insecurity and instability. Due to instability, the Afghanistan government has limited ability to deliver basic services in many parts of the country. Attacks by the Taliban and other insurgent groups continue despite attempts by Afghan government officials to start a dialogue with Taliban leaders. Since August 2011, assaults on the British Council, the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul left scores dead. The slaying of a former Afghan President and acting Peace Council Chief, and the recent surge of suicide and terror attacks are further indications of the perilous conditions the region faces.

In December 2011, international donors pledged ongoing support to the Afghan government, military and police for an anticipated transition of power by 2014. The Afghan government asked that international aid (which funds most of its operations) continues until at least 2025 to allow development to become sustainable. But development assistance and efforts to improve governance are fraught with tribal tensions, questions of accountability and weak capacity. The U.S. Agency for International Development has committed billions of dollars to Afghan development projects. Once U.S. and NATO forces withdraw, will these vital development programs be funded and will the Afghan government be capable of governing fairly and providing security for its people? While Afghan security and police forces have grown and taken on more responsibility, corruption, persistent attacks by insurgents and lack of capacity raise questions about future stability.

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