History of Country
Conflict and chronic instability
The people of Afghanistan – a landlocked and mountainous country – suffer from chronic insecurity and instability.
Successive wars have shattered the economy, leaving homes, schools, and public infrastructure in ruins. The Taliban has regrouped since its administration fell in 2001, and NATO continues its presence in the country.
At present, 50 per cent of schools do not have proper buildings. Around 870 million people are illiterate – two-thirds of these are women. Swathes of the population live without access to basic services, including clean water and sanitation. Afghanistan suffers from one of the highest levels of maternal mortality on the planet.Natural disasters
Afghanistan is a country prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes, flooding, landslides and drought. In 2001, the worst floods in thirty years devastated harvests and destroyed food stocks. In the last thirteen years, the country has experienced eight droughts which have seriously affected food production.
Between 250,000 and 400,000 Afghans are affected by natural disasters every year.Malnutrition
Over 34 per cent of the country’s population is food insecure. Around 6.7 million Afghans have little or no food, and more than half of children under five are malnourished.Poverty and poppies
Over half of Afghanistan’s population live below the poverty line, and 60 per cent survive on less than $1 a day. Most people rely on agriculture to earn a living, but this has been severely disrupted by conflict and natural disasters. Unemployment stands at 40 per cent.
Farmers have resorted to growing opium poppies to feed the international heroin trade. Afghanistan is now the world’s largest producer of opium, and an estimated one-million Afghans struggle with drug dependency.
Islamic Relief's History
|We have been working in Afghanistan since 1992. We set up our office in April 2001 to better respond to humanitarian needs arising from the conflict.
Early projects combined emergency relief with development, and included drought relief and food aid. We worked in partnership with the UN World Food Programme on eight projects, including food distribution in Kandahar and a women’s bakery in Helmand province.
Islamic Relief was one of the few aid agencies to continue working in Afghanistan during the military incursions, and our Kabul and Kandahar offices remain open today. Unfortunately, chronic insecurity has forced the closure of the Kajaki office in Helmand province.
Today, we work in the central, northern, eastern and southern regions. Current and recent projects include health and education, water and sanitation, livelihoods and building much-needed community infrastructure.