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International Partnerships


Afghanistan, a landlocked nation strategically located at the juncture of Central and South Asia, is home to just over 42 million people. Currently, it is grappling with one of the most severe humanitarian, socio-economic, and human rights crises worldwide. Two-thirds of the Afghan population struggle to meet their basic needs, marking the displacement situation in Afghanistan as one of the most enduring in recent history. In alignment with the Council Conclusions of September 2021 and March 2023, the European Union maintains its commitment to supporting the Afghan people. However, development cooperation with Afghanistan is currently suspended.

Our partnership

While development cooperation remains suspended, the European Union persists in its efforts to support the Afghan population by addressing their essential needs and enhancing their livelihoods. This support acts as a complement to humanitarian aid, offering the Afghan people a medium-term perspective and contributing to create a set of stabilising factors.

The EU's assistance to the Afghan population adheres to a principled approach, ensuring that aid reaches women effectively and that they play a significant role in the aid delivery process. Importantly, EU assistance is strictly not funneled through or to the benefit of the de facto authorities. Instead, all aid is meticulously implemented by United Nations agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations.

Team Europe, which includes the EU along with Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Sweden, coordinates to provide assistance for basic needs in Afghanistan. Additionally, the Afghan displacement crisis, both within and outside the country, receives support through a Regional Team Europe Initiative, involving the EU and 12 Member States.

28 NOVEMBER 2023
Special measure 2023 for Afghanistan
31 OCTOBER 2022
Special measure 2022 for Afghanistan
22 DECEMBER 2021
Special measure 2021 for Afghanistan
16 DECEMBER 2021
Special Measure 2021 for a regional response to the Afghanistan refugee and displacement crisis


Our flagship initiatives

Basic services

To ensure the continuity of essential services such as healthcare, education, access to food and nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene:

  • Access to food and nutrition: The European Union has provided daily and monthly food assistance to approximately 1.2 million schoolchildren, significantly enhancing school enrollment and attendance rates, child health and nutrition, and acting as a key incentive for keeping girls in education. Additionally, EU funding has enabled community nutrition services to reach almost 950,000 children and 270,000 adolescents to date.
  • Education: In response to the risk of a large-scale exodus of teachers that could have resulted in the collapse of an already fragile education sector, the EU provided emergency cash support to all 194,000 public school teachers during the challenging winter months of February-March 2022. The EU has also offered more medium-term basic needs assistance, directly helping primary school-aged girls and boys to improve educational outcomes. This comprehensive assistance includes the provision of daily and monthly food aid previously mentioned, alongside learning materials for 500,000 children across most provinces.

To bolster livelihoods, thereby offering the population a medium-term perspective and establishing a series of economic stabilisation factors at the community level:

  • Women’s economic empowerment: The EU has significantly contributed to the empowerment of women in the business sector, supporting approximately 8,000 women-owned businesses and assisting 3,500 women in developing or expanding their businesses. Additionally, through an ongoing programme, about 780,000 individuals have received food or cash for participating in work programmes aimed at enhancing food production, with nearly half of the beneficiaries being women.
  • Climate-smart solutions: Alongside fostering economic resilience at the community level, the EU is actively engaged in promoting climate resilience for the Afghan people. Notable achievements include the generation of around 3 million tree seedlings and the rehabilitation or construction of roughly 2,000 km of irrigation canals, as well as the restoration of 3,000 hectares of degraded hillsides and marginal areas. Such efforts are particularly vital in light of increasing natural disaster frequencies and the fact that climate change poses a significant threat to the lives and livelihoods of 80% of Afghanistan's population, which depends on agriculture for survival.
Forced displacement

In response to the ongoing Afghan regional displacement crisis, the European Union, alongside 12 EU Member States, launched a regional Team Europe Initiative. This initiative is dedicated to fostering durable solutions and providing support to both long-term and newly displaced Afghans, as well as their host communities across Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Central Asia, using a combination of humanitarian and development aid funds.

  • Protection: Team Europe is committed to enhancing the protection of refugees, internally displaced persons, migrants, and asylum seekers. Efforts include supporting Afghan women pursuing education in Central Asia and offering information and advisory services on forced displacement, housing, land, and property rights in Afghanistan.
  • Resilience: The initiative aims to strengthen the resilience and self-reliance (including life-saving assistance) of refugees, internally displaced persons, migrants, asylum seekers, and members of host communities. Efforts have included providing gender-responsive employment opportunities through community development projects and small grants for home-based economic activities, benefiting over 1,100 displaced women in 2022.
  • Migration governance: Team Europe contributes to the development and implementation of effective migration governance and management systems. This involves the collection and analysis of migration and forced displacement data and efforts to counteract migrant smuggling and trafficking.

Beyond the targeted support for displaced Afghans, the EU’s assistance for basic needs within the Afghan population is also instrumental in tackling some of the root causes of displacement, offering a comprehensive approach to address the multifaceted challenges of the crisis.