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heading foldHow we are helping

2013/14 Estimated Outcome

$148.3 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate

$134.2 million


Australia remains committed to Afghanistan's long-term security and stability, and continues to contribute to Afghanistan’s development, building on the gains of the last decade. Afghanistan faces substantial challenges as it undergoes three transitions: assuming responsibility for security by the end of 2014; undertaking presidential elections as the first peaceful change of executive power in Afghanistan's modern history; and responding to slowing economic growth as international forces leave Afghanistan.

Australia’s development assistance programme to Afghanistan is part of an integrated whole-of-government effort with security, diplomatic, and development objectives. The Development Framework Agreement 2012–17, signed by Australia and Afghanistan in July 2012, underlines both parties’ commitment to building the Afghan Government’s capacity to deliver basic services and provide economic opportunities to its people. The Afghan Government has agreed to make progress against commitments under the 2012 Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework, including economic reform, governance, anti-corruption, elections, and human rights, including the rights of women and girls.

Women together in a room, smiling Australian volunteer Tanya McQueen worked as a Rural Women's Programme Adviser in Afghanistan (credit: DFAT).

In 2014-2015, Australia will support the Afghan Government deliver its national priority programmes, including in health, education, rural development and infrastructure, by contributing to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. We will also:

  • enhance education in Afghanistan by expanding access to schools, improving education quality, and increasing the Afghan Government’s capacity to deliver education services. Australia’s direct support will see more than 5,000 children, including more than 2,100 girls, enrolled in schools in 2014
  • protect and promote human rights by providing support for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission to investigate human rights violations, assist individuals, and hold to account those who would abuse human rights
  • empower women and girls by supporting their active participation in Afghanistan’s economic, social, and political life, including contributing to national efforts to end violence against women
  • strengthen effective governance, by helping build strong electoral institutions, community participation in the electoral process, and strengthening the Afghan media’s ability to report on political issues. We will also provide targeted training and mentoring to over 500 civil servants responsible for procurement, planning and financial administration, to improve service delivery and budget-processing times in the ministries of Agriculture, Health, Public Works, and Education
  • improve agricultural productivity by introducing more resilient varieties of wheat, provide job opportunities, and expand access to markets for Afghan families by helping them start locally-relevant, small-scale businesses
  • support infrastructure projects such as the construction, refurbishment, and maintenance of roads in Uruzgan
  • build resilience in partnership with multilateral and non-government humanitarian organisations by providing food for up to 1.9 million vulnerable Afghans, and by removing mines and explosive remnants of war. We will also help sustain the Afghan National Security Forces through ODA-eligible activities with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior and Police.

Women together in a room, smiling Education in Oruzgan province, Afghanistan (credit: Jacob Simpson MACCA).

For more information on the administration, management and objectives of Australia’s programmes in Afghanistan, read:

Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.

Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.

Australia, with other donors, has contributed to the following key results to 30 June 2013.


  • helped increase access to basic health care services—around 85 per cent of the population lives in districts which now have providers to deliver a basic package of health care services
  • funded health services to more than two million people beyond the reach of Afghanistan’s national health care through the Australian Red Cross managed Afghanistan Health Services Program
  • provided funding for the vaccination of more than 428,000 children against polio across Afghanistan
  • provided support for family planning, antenatal care, postnatal care and vaccination for more than 311,000 women
  • improved maternal health care, with at least 74 per cent of pregnant women now receiving at least one antenatal health care visit and increasing access to basic health care services and systems, particularly for pregnant women and children
    • 39 per cent of births attended by skilled attendants (2010–11), compared to 24 per cent in 2007–08
    • a three-fold increase in the number of functioning primary health care facilities with skilled female health workers, from 25 per cent in 2003 to 74 per cent in 2012.


  • increased school enrolments from around one million in 2001 to more than eight million today, including over three million girls (38 per cent of all enrolments)
  • enrolled 4,200 children in school, including 2,600 girls, through Empowerment Through Education and the Children of Uruzgan Program
  • trained 3,400 teachers
  • provided 5,400 additional textbooks.

Economic development

  • rehabilitated and maintained over 12,800 kilometres of rural roads
  • provided food assistance to almost six million men, women and children in 2012 alone, and over 28 million beneficiaries since 2009, through the World Food Programme
  • enabled community demining and mine risk education over the past 18 months
  • trained more than 1,300 teachers to provide mine risk education in three provinces (Herat, Kabul, Nangarhar)
  • delivered mine risk education to around 350,000 people in 18 provinces
  • cleared 2.2 square kilometres of contaminated land in Ghor, Kandahar and Khost provinces, which directly benefitted over 3,900 people
  • trained more than 6,000 farmers in new agricultural practices and better natural resource management in the Bamyan and Parwan provinces.


  • trained more than 30,000 people, including over 14,000 women, in human rights, and over 2,400 monitoring visits were made to detention centres, juvenile rehabilitation centres and child institutions
  • supported six line ministries in achieving certification to manage their procurement processes, which represents 40 per cent of civilian expenditure
  • supported Afghanistan to improve its Open Budget Index (OBI) ranking from eight (2008) to 59 (2012), making it one of the fastest improving countries in giving its citizens access to budget information
  • supported a total of 21 ministries to complete pay and grading increases (up from eight ministries in 2011) which has enabled ministries to attract qualified staff, streamline organisational structures and reduce duplicate positions
  • supported the Afghan Independent Election Commission to issue almost 76,000 eligible people with new voter registration cards (including over 16,000 women).


  • directly supported more than 57,000 people across all 34 provinces with food rations, including 26,000 women and girls
  • provided emergency food assistance to more than 62,000 drought-affected people
  • cleared 2,640,000 square metres of mined and explosive remnants of war-contaminated land for productive use, with benefits to more than 15,000 people. Delivered mine risk education to 118,000 people, one-third of whom were women and girls
  • supported the Mine Action Coordination Centre for Afghanistan, through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), including national institutional capacity building and mine clearance.

Key results in Uruzgan

The Australian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) has now disbanded in Uruzgan. The PRT operated in Uruzgan from the mid-2004 to October 2013. During this period there were three distinct phases of leadership of the PRT:

  • 2004–2006: US military
  • 2006–2010: Dutch civil-military
  • 2010–2013: Combined Australian-US civil-military.

PRTs in Afghanistan have worked on reconstruction, governance and development challenges at the local level. They varied greatly in structure and size, with each PRT shaped by the nations that staffed it, and tailored to the situation in the province it worked in. Each ‘lead country’ faced different conditions on the ground, navigated different domestic political pressures, and applied different programming and engagement strategies. The strategy of the Uruzgan PRT evolved to deal with changing security conditions and growing government presence and capacity.

Uruzgan remains one of the most remote, undeveloped and poor of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, in which Afghanistan-wide development challenges are magnified. Australian aid has:

  • contributed to school construction and rehabilitation, increasing from 34 in 2006 to around more than 200 active schools in 2013 with 205 education facilities open in Uruzgan at the end of 2011, including more than 30 girls and seven mixed schools
  • supported basic health and hygiene education for communities, and increased functioning health facilities from 9 in 2006 to 29 today
  • contributed to the upgrade of over 200 kilometres of roads and bridges, generating employment opportunities for thousands of people in the province
  • funded the only Public Defender in the province, who has processed over 200 cases since 2011, including appeals of local defendants to the Supreme Court in Kabul
  • increased the percentage of government positions filled from 30 per cent in 2009 up to 60 per cent, including through:
      • training of 42 civil servants from the Provincial Government, to improve the planning and management of public services in Uruzgan
      • a civil service internship program to enable the Provincial Government to fill critical staffing shortfalls. Out of 50 interns, 16 were able to gain full-time employment with the provincial government.
  • supported over 350 small scale community infrastructure projects, including wells, culverts and reservoirs to improve agricultural productivity, health and easier access to markets
  • improved water supply and hygiene facilities and practices in Shahid-e Hasas and Chenartu Districts, Uruzgan Province, through the construction of 91 wells and 600 latrines; the distribution of 5,000 hygiene kits in 25 villages; and the rehabilitation of 7.5km of hillside wells.

Australian funding, including through Save the Children’s Children of Uruzgan Program ($35.7 million, 2012–15) has contributed to:

  • improved maternal health care, with up to 80 per cent of pregnant women now receiving at least one antenatal health care visit
  • training of 24 new midwives and 26 nurses under the program to support further improvements in women’s and maternal health services.

heading foldWhy we give aid


Afghanistan faces immense development challenges. It ranks 175 out of 187 countries on the UN 2013 Human Development Index. Life expectancy is 49 years for men and women. The majority of the population live without sustainable access to clean water and sanitation. Gender inequality is profoundly entrenched and gender-based violence is widespread. Girls attend school for less than half the number of years compared to Afghan boys. Despite improvements in recent years, the maternal mortality rate is among the highest in the world.

Find out more about why we give aid to Afghanistan


heading foldHow we give aid

Our assistance focuses on promoting education opportunities; rural development, particularly agriculture and community infrastructure; and improving the quality of governance, including public financial management, mining, electoral support and civil society engagement.

Read the Afghanistan-Australia Aid Program Strategy 2013-2014

Read the Afghanistan Aid Program Performance Report 2013-14

Find out more about how we give aid to Afghanistan


heading foldVideo

Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund—Results in 2013

The Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund is a multi-donor trust fund bringing greater coordination to development assistance in Afghanistan. Administered by the World Bank, the fund has been central to the Australian aid program in Afghanistan since our first contribution in 2003. Video courtesy of the World Bank.


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability

Last reviewed: 28 October, 2014