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U.S. Commitment to Afghanistan

To support the war on terror and to keep with America’s tradition of assisting those in need, the United States is working to build a safe, stable society that meets the needs of its people and eliminates an environment that breeds terrorism. On behalf of the American people, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is working in several key areas to help rebuild Afghanistan for the Afghan people.


– Support for Democracy

Welcome. Mr. President, welcome back to the White House. I am honored to stand by the first democratically-elected leader in the five-thousand year history of Afghanistan. Congratulations.
–President Bush to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, May 23, 2005
Women line up to vote in Afghanistan’s first presidential election. USAID Photo

A post-Taliban rebirth of democracy and civil society is underway in Afghanistan. The United States has supported the new democracy by registering over 10 million Afghans to vote for the October 2004 elections, supporting domestic election observers who monitored the presidential elections nation-wide, and providing constitutional and legal experts to work with the committees drafting the constitution and new laws. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is helping to create a broadly accepted national government that can promote national unity, reduce the propensity for inter-group conflict and curtail the role of extremists.

Progress in the Security Sector

Security and stability are improving as the new Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police grow in size. The central government is gradually but surely extending its authority throughout the country. And the U.S. military is helping the Afghan people help themselves through provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs), which carry out both civil-military operations and security functions.



– Afghan Economy Strenthened

We'll continue to support reconstruction, economic development and investments that will help educate and build the skills of the Afghan people.
–President Bush, May 23, 2005
Photo of Kandahar highway construction. USAID Photo

After years of war ruined the public infrastructure, Afghanistan is in the midst of a strong recovery. The United States is working with the Government of Afghanistan to design and implement sound economic policies that are sustainable, transparent and predictable. USAID aims to strengthen economic policies affecting the public sector through building the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank’s capacity and establishing an environment that enables the private sector to expand and produce jobs and income.


– Girls Go Back to School

The National Women's Dormitory and the Women's Teacher Training Institute will allow women to come from every corner of the country and have a safe place to stay and study so that they can return home and share one of life's greatest gifts with their communities - the gift of an education.
--First Lady Laura Bush
In March 2005, female students entered the newly renovated National Women’s Dormitory in Kabul. The dorm has enabled girls from rural areas to attend institutions of higher learning such as the medical school, Afghan Education University, Polytechnic Institute and Kabul University. USAID Photo

Prior to the fall of the Taliban, only about thirty-two percent of school-age children were enrolled; only three percent of the country’s girls attended school. Eighty percent of existing schools were either severely damaged or destroyed at the end of the Taliban rule. USAID’s education program was designed to meet the urgent need for school building, textbook printing, teacher training, and accelerated learning for over-aged students who had been denied an education under the Taliban; it has been expanded to include radio-based teacher training, higher education programs and literacy training for workforce development.


– More Afghans Get Basic Health Care

This Afghan doctor provides medical care to Afghan women. USAID’s maternal and child health program has been working very closely with the Ministry of Public Health to provide essential services to the Afghan people. USAID Photo

The United States is working to improve the basic health and nutrition of Afghans and to increase access of women and children to quality basic health services, especially in rural and underserved areas. In collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, USAID currently provides health services in 310 sites around Afghanistan, including 13 district hospitals. Services are provided by working through community-based volunteer health workers at all levels in the health care system—from basic health centers at the village level to provincial hospitals. As a result, some 7.1 million people in 14 provinces now have better access to quality health services. Approximately 70% of patients served are women and children.


– Agricultural Production Nearly Doubled, Alternative Livelihoods Strengthened

After all, Afghanistan has had a long history of farming. And we can do -- we can do a lot to help the farmers get back on their feet and diversify away from poppies.
–President Bush, May 23, 2005
The purpose of USAID’s agricultural sector development program is to improve food security, increase cropping productivity and rural employment, and improve family incomes and well being. Improved job opportunities and incomes are also aimed at reducing pressures on the poor to grow illicit crops. Here, a farmer tends his grape vines. USAID Photo

Agriculture is a way of life for 70% of Afghanistan’s people. However, instability, coupled with the region’s four-year drought, devastated the country’s farms. USAID renovates irrigation systems, builds roads to markets and provides fertilizers and seeds, which increases cropping productivity, strengthens food security and improves family incomes and rural employment. Over the past few years, agricultural production has nearly doubled, increasing farmers’ incomes.


– Expanding Roles for Women

This Alternative Livelihoods program provides employment and training to 200 women in Nangarhar province. USAID Photo

As the United States has moved from emergency reconstruction in to long-term development in Afghanistan, the emphasis on women and deeper gender issues has intensified across its programs. USAID is working to expand community-based healthcare, open the world of education to women and girls, empower women with a voice in governance, and ensure due process for women.

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