Switzerland is responding to the acute humanitarian needs of Afghanistan's population with projects that build on over 20 years of Swiss commitment in the country. It is also following a medium to long-term approach in parallel to these activities, focusing on building resilience, strengthening livelihoods, and combating the detrimental consequences of climate change. Switzerland works with partner organisations who implement the projects on the ground to ensure that its activities are aligned with local civil society and the communities in need.

Crisis in Afghanistan

After the Taliban takeover on 15 August 2021, Switzerland immediately closed its cooperation office in Kabul and evacuated all staff. Since then, the team has been working from the Pakistani capital Islamabad. A permanent Swiss presence is to be re-established in Afghanistan as soon as the security situation permits.

Two-thirds of the Afghan population, approximately 28.3 million people, urgently need  humanitarian aid in order to survive. The country has been hit by drought for the third year in a row and is entering a second year of crippling economic decline. The effects of over 40 years of conflict and recurring natural disasters are also continuing to plague the suffering population.

Since coming to power, the Taliban has issued a number of bans and decrees that severely restrict people’s rights – particularly for women and girls. The SDC is in close consultation with the donor and partner community to find ways to continue supporting the Afghan people without aid conditionality. Projects should not be suspended if principled humanitarian action is still possible. Until further notice, SDC project partners can continue all or part of their activities in Afghanistan.

Switzerland coordinates its work in Afghanistan at various levels within the international community. This year it has allocated CHF 30 million to help alleviate the extensive humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, and to strengthen livelihoods to the greatest extent possible. Switzerland works with an array of strategic partners, ranging from multilateral and international organisations (UN, World Bank, ICRC) to international and local NGOs. Financial resources are allocated as follows: 47% to the UN, ICRC and international financial institutions, and 53% to international NGOs (such as the Agha Khan Foundation) and Afghan NGOs. Through its projects, the SDC helps to protect human rights and meet basic needs. The key focus areas of its programme are:

a) protection and human rights,

b) ensuring basic needs (including health and basic education), and

c) climate-resilient livelihoods at local level.

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.