Switzerland's engagement in Afghanistan aims to reduce poverty, human suffering and the loss of life. Switzerland promotes the respect for human rights and the protection of vulnerable population groups. In addition, it contributes to the improvement of rural livelihoods and fosters access to quality basic education.

Crisis in Afghanistan

On 15 August 2021, owing to the security situation Switzerland temporarily closed its office in Kabul. The Swiss and local staff of the cooperation office were evacuated along with their families.

In view of the humanitarian needs, the Federal Council decided on 8 September 2021 to step up its activities for the population in distress in Afghanistan and the surrounding region. In December 2021, Parliament approved a budget of CHF 60 million for the years 2021 and 2022. These funds were allocated to the ICRC, UN agencies, independent international organisations and NGOs working in fragile contexts, with the aim of providing direct assistance to the population. The de facto Taliban government receives no funding.

Living conditions are extremely difficult in Afghanistan, where famine threatens nearly 25 million people. As a result of the sanctions and a paralysed banking system, salaries are no longer paid, basic services no longer function and prices are rising, pushing people into extreme poverty. Switzerland strives to combine emergency aid with measures to strengthen the resilience of the civilian population and improve their living conditions. The majority of SDC programmes have been adapted to the new context, covering the areas of protection and the rule of law, agriculture and natural resource management, and basic education.

At the beginning of 2023, the SDC will launch its new two-year cooperation programme with Afghanistan (2023–24).

For further information:

Press release


Map of Afghanistan
2014 Natural Earth

The long period of war has caused enormous human suffering. Institutions have been weakened and economic and social development hampered. Afghanistan is now one of the poorest and most fragile countries on Earth. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made since 2001 in the areas of education, health, rural development, justice and good governance. Further international support for the Afghan reform agenda is vital to maintain the results achieved so far and to ensure that all Afghans benefit equally from this progress.

Switzerland has distinguished itself in Afghanistan through its many years of experience and the high quality of the projects it has implemented there. The overarching objective of Switzerland's cooperation strategy for the 2019–22 period in Afghanistan is to reduce poverty, human suffering and the loss of life. It seeks to promote a peaceful society with effective, accountable and inclusive institutions based on the rule of law, geared towards meeting the needs of the population. Switzerland's activities focus on three interconnected areas: 1) rule of law and protection 2) agriculture and management of natural resources and 3) basic education.

Approach and partners

Switzerland's development cooperation and humanitarian aid in Afghanistan complement each other. Implementing partners include UN institutions as well as Afghan, Swiss and international NGOs.