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02 January 2010


Afghanistan: what has been 

achieved since 2001?

Since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 more than 
200 UK soldiers have been killed in action, 100 of those deaths this year alone.

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Currently the UK has 9,000 troops deployed in the region and in the last eight years has spent more than £740m in development aid, with an additional £510m promised over the next four years.
But have efforts to improve security and rebuild the country led to any improvements in daily life for Afghan citizens? Here is a snapshot of how some areas have changed.


54% say they are more prosperous in 2009 than in 2001

Afghanistan remains one of the world's poorest nations, but more Afghanis believe they are better off now than they were in 2001. The UK has donated £40.5m for loans to individuals to set up small businesses as part of a bigger project that has seen more than 440,000 people take up loans.


Population with no electricity

Afghan women draw water from a well

The UK has donated £32m towards local projects to improve water supply, roads, health and education but infrastructure is still a major problem. A third of the country has no access to a regular electricity supply, but that has improved from 42% three years ago. The UK has also spent £30m in Helmand building 59km of roads and more than 1,850 wells. There are plans to build a road from Lashkar Gah to Gereshk and refurbish the Gereshk power plant.


Bar chart shows hectares of opium cultivation

After rising for many years following the fall of the Taliban, opium production has begun to show a decline from its peak in 2007. According to EU figures however, 10% of households are still involved in growing the crop. Most opium is grown in the seven areas where security is worst.


Immunisation graph

Infant mortality has barely changed since the war began, but child immunisation programmes are saving the lives of about 35,000 children a year. In Helmand, where most UK troops are based, a new district hospital and 45 clinics have been built.



The adult literacy rate in Afghanistan is one of the worst in the world - but the youth literacy rate is showing signs of improvement. New schools have been built: in Helmand there are now 93 schools, up from 34 in 2006. Latest figures¹ show 52% of children enrolled in primary school in 2009, up from 37% in 2005.

Children enrolled in primary school

Under the Taliban, women were not allowed to vote or work and girls were not allowed to attend school. Rates of literacy and female education are now rising. Enrolled pupil numbers have grown from 1m in 2002 to around 6.6m in 2009 and about a third of those are girls.


pie chart shows answers to question - do you feel security is a erason for optimism?

Security is still one of the country's biggest problems but 44% of the population still feel improved security is "a reason for optimism". In spite of reports of vote-rigging in this year's election, confidence in the government remains high¹ but the government's ability to deal with the insecurity problem remains one of people's key concerns.

Sources: (1)Asia Foundation 2009 (2)UNOCD (3)Unicef (4)CIA World Factbook (5)World Bank

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