The United States participated in the 2020 Afghanistan Conference on November 23-24, the sixth quadrennial gathering to coordinate international development support for Afghanistan. The conference was hosted virtually by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. At the conference, the United States emphasized its commitment to a secure, stable, democratic, and self-reliant Afghanistan that is at peace with itself and its neighbors, and underscored the following:
- The United States has announced the availability of up to approximately $600 million in civilian assistance for Afghanistan for calendar year 2021. We were pleased to pledge $300 million in civilian assistance today, with an amount of up to approximately $300 million also available in the near term depending on our assessment of progress in the peace process. Future assistance beyond 2021 is planned at comparable levels provided there is consistent progress on transparency and accountability, as well as on the peace process, on the part of the Afghan government.
- The United States will continue to support Afghanistan Peace Negotiations. All sides must seize this historic opportunity for peace and commit to a reduction in violence that will enable these talks to succeed. Future assistance decisions will reflect progress made in these negotiations.
- We encourage Afghanistan to prioritize peace, security, protection of the rights of women and girls, as well as much-needed economic reforms, specifically its anti-corruption efforts, to achieve its goal of stability and self-reliance.
- The advancement of women’s rights is vital to economic, social, and political progress in Afghanistan. The United States and the international donor community are united in the view that future assistance will be determined by the steps Afghanistan takes to protect the human rights of all Afghans, especially those of women, girls, and ethnic and religious minorities.
- Today’s civilian assistance pledge is in addition to the approximately $4.3 billion per year in security assistance the United States provides to Afghanistan.
- In addition to the civilian assistance funds pledged at Quadrennial Donors Conferences, the United States has provided more than $3.6 billion in humanitarian assistance to Afghans in Afghanistan and the region since 2002. In Fiscal Year 2020, the United States provided nearly $277 million in humanitarian assistance to support emergency food, health, humanitarian protection, shelter, and water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance to the most vulnerable Afghan households affected by conflict and natural disasters, as well as reintegration efforts for internally displaced peoples, returning refugees, and host communities.
- The United States has provided substantial support to Afghanistan as part of our global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including more than $39 million in health and humanitarian assistance and the donation of 100 ventilators to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health.
Afghanistan’s Gains since 2001
Afghanistan has faced and continues to face enormous challenges, foremost on the security front, and far too much of the cost of the war has been born by the Afghan people. But due in large part to their determination and resilience, it is undeniable that today Afghan men and women are healthier, more prosperous, better educated, and enjoy greater freedoms than two decades ago. The United States is proud of the contributions we and our donor partners have made to enable this historic progress, including in the following areas:
- Access to education has improved significantly for millions of Afghans, especially for women and children. Support from the United States and other donors over the last 19 years has improved the access and quality of basic and higher education in Afghanistan and enabled a generation of young Afghan women to receive an education. Over nine million children are enrolled in school, including over 3.5 million girls. Approximately 300,000 Afghans, including around 100,000 women, have enrolled in public and private universities. Today, 40 percent of students enrolled in basic education are girls, and more women than ever are serving as ambassadors, cabinet members, and members of parliament and the security forces.
- Since 2002, life expectancy among women increased from 47 years to more than 60, and the combined infant and maternal mortality rate at birth has been reduced by more than half, in part due to the support of the United States and other international donors. An increased number of midwives and female health workers has been key to this progress.
- Afghanistan’s economy has experienced significant growth, improved development outcomes, and strengthened macroeconomic management since 2001. U.S. assistance focused on private-sector led, export-driven growth has supported the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs, improved livelihoods for farmers and Afghans across the country, expanded markets for Afghan exports, and advanced regional economic integration. The United States has facilitated over $845 million in increased sales of agricultural products and made more than 540,000 hectares of farmland more productive through better irrigation since 2006. Our trade promotion events in six countries enabled Afghan business owners, including a significant number of Afghan businesswomen, to sign over $47 million in sales agreements in addition to establishing new markets and sales channels.
- Aided by U.S. training and assistance, Afghanistan’s criminal justice institutions – the Supreme Court, Attorney General’s Office, and Ministry of Justice – have laid the foundations for rule of law, presiding over trials, prosecuting offenders, and defending clients in accordance with Afghan law. With our support, the Afghan government has improved Afghanistan’s correctional system and deployed prosecution units focused on combatting violence against women to all 34 provinces, boosting conviction rates for crimes of domestic violence.
- U.S. counternarcotic programs have helped address the production and trade of illicit drugs, introduced alternative livelihoods, and improved the delivery and effectiveness of drug treatment and recovery programs.
- Our support for demining programs has reduced the threat of landmines and unexploded ordinance.
- Since 2001, the United States has provided significant assistance to Afghan media organizations and training to journalists. The development of a strong, free and independent media over the past 19 years is a key achievement, crucial to ensuring democracy, accountability, and transparency. The United States will continue to support a free and independent media and the security of journalists who put their lives at risk to inform the public.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at SCA-Press@state.gov.