New inquiry: The Future of Afghanistan: Development progress and prospect after 2014

23 February 2012

At the International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn in 2011 the international community reaffirmed its commitment to helping Afghanistan in the long term. The UK intends to have a wide-ranging relationship with Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO-led combat troops and the transition of security control to Afghan forces in 2014, with a significant emphasis on development.

This is one of a series of studies the Committee is undertaking into DFID’s work in fragile and conflict-affected states. Afghanistan is unique because those supporting the insurgency regard coalition forces as belligerent occupiers and this creates confusion in the minds of some Afghans about the motivations of donor assistance.

With the withdrawal of NATO-led combat troops there will be a significant reduction in Afghanistan’s GNI from the fall in the spending power of NATO-led forces. This has the potential to undermine development gains made to date if it is not properly planned and coordinated. DFID is one of many donors providing assistance to Afghanistan. It will provide £178 million per year to Afghanistan up to 2015. Around 20% of this is allocated to Helmand Province where the UK leads the Provincial Reconstruction Team. In addition DFID contributes to the cross-Departmental Conflict Pool budget (£68.5 million for 2011-12).

DFID’s main areas of focus are improving governance and security, education, wealth creation, and humanitarian assistance.

The Committee is to begin an inquiry into progress in development since the Committee’s last visit in 2007 and the prospects for the period after ‘transition’. It invites evidence on the following issues:

• The economic consequences of the military draw down and how this can be mitigated;
• Co-ordination with other donors and multilateral organisations, and where DFID can best add value through its bilateral programme which focuses on:
o Governance and security: Whether DFID can “tackle the root causes of instability and the effects of insecurity” and the scope for building bridges with opposition and insurgent groups to do this
o Education: what progress has been made, especially for girls, and how to ensure Afghanistan meets the MDG target of completion (rather than enrolment) of primary schooling;
o Wealth creation: DFID’s role in creating sustainable jobs, increasing investment and tax revenues and contributing to poverty reduction and economic stability;
o Humanitarian Assistance: the role of donors and of the UN as co-ordinator and lead on humanitarian assistance;
• Co-ordination between DFID, the FCO and the MoD and the value-added of the cross-Departmental Conflict Pool in Afghanistan;
• How effective DFID has been and what lessons should be learned in relation to its work in fragile and conflict affected states;
• How DFID will ensure progress towards development goals, and that progress made since 2001 is not reversed, after the departure of combat troops, and how it will monitor such progress.
The Committee invites submissions on the Future of Afghanistan.  The deadline for submitting written evidence is Monday 26 March 2012. 

Written evidence submitted should:
Be no longer that 3000 words in length
• Have numbered paragraphs
• Avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material
• Be provided electronically in MS Word or Rich Text format (No PDF’s) by e-mail to  If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail. The letterhead should contain your full postal address and contact details
Submissions can also be sent by post to International Development Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.
A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:
Please also note that:
• Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within written evidence, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included. If a number of published documents are sent to accompany written evidence, these should be listed in the covering email.
• Written evidence submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Record Office. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. 
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