Afghanistan at a glance
The Need to Decouple Humanitarian and Security Agendas
Afghanistan has been plagued by armed conflict for decades and is regularly hit by natural disasters. In order to meet the humanitarian needs of the population, humanitarian response in Afghanistan must be improved significantly. This year’s HRI field mission to Afghanistan indicates that humanitarian organisations face serious limits on their capacity to deliver, as well as threats to their neutrality, impartiality and independence. The main challenge will be to separate humanitarian activities from post-conflict, peacebuilding, counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts. Donors should grant humanitarian work a higher priority, implement a needs-based response and fully recognise the GHD Principles. Coverage of needs has become even more irregular due to the increasing number of ‘no-go’ areas. Most aid is delivered to district or provincial capitals, rather than at the community level, causing tension with traditional power relations; some communities prosper on aid distributions while others’ needs remain unaddressed. Often, aid organisations cannot even directly involve beneficiaries in their planning processes or in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the humanitarian response. A continued failure to respect the Principles and Good Practice of Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) will cause further harm unless donors reform.