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Money Talks: Mapping EU’s Financial Engagement to Afghanistan Pre- and Post-Taliban Takeover

Widya Puspitasari

The short study provides an overview and comparison of EU’s financial engagement to Afghanistan by examining EU’s past and current funding instruments to Afghanistan pre- and post-Taliban takeover in August 2021.

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In this study, Widya Puspitasari provides an overview and comparison of EU’s financial engagement to Afghanistan by examining EU’s past and current funding instruments to Afghanistan pre- and post- Taliban takeover in August 2021.


Afghanistan has been the recipient of substantial development and humanitarian aid from the European Union (EU) since 2002, positioning Afghanistan as the primary beneficiary of EU funding assistance globally receiving over €4 billion in development aid. There are two main funding streams for Afghanistan serving different goals including development cooperation aid and humanitarian assistance.


Prior to the rapid seizure of the country by the Taliban, Afghanistan received development cooperation fund from different instruments including the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), the Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020. These funding instruments were guided by specific sets of conditionalities.

Following Taliban’s military offensive and subsequent de-facto control of the country in August 2021, all funding for development assistance has been discontinued. Nonetheless, committed to continuing assistance to alleviate the severe humanitarian and socio-economic crisis for the benefit of the Afghan population, the EU continues to provide humanitarian aid channeled exclusively through EU’s humanitarian partners on the ground.
Moreover, EU reiterates its commitment to provide assistance through annual financing decision constituting annual work programmes under the NDICI “Global Europe” Special Measures. Unlike the development cooperation instruments prior to the takeover, the special measures don’t come with specific conditionalities.


The main conclusions include:



  • The EU has adjusted its approach in the provision of aid to Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country in August 2021. In the absence of constitutionally elected government, the EU’s development cooperation with Afghanistan has been suspended. However, the EU maintains its commitment to provide essential services and livelihoods to Afghan people through special measures programs under NDICI Global Europe.


  • In addressing humanitarian crisis, the EU continues to provide humanitarian assistance and carries out humanitarian operations in Afghanistan. These fund, which are allocated under the World Wide Decision program, have increased since the Taliban takeover significantly.


  • As a comparison of EU’s financial engagement pre- and post- Taliban military offensive, the study found that EU’s bilateral financial aid, combining development cooperation and humanitarian assistance prior to Taliban takeover amounts to ±€1.6 billion between 2014-2020 (±€228 million per year). The financial engagement both through Special Measure Programmes under NDICI Global Europe and the humanitarian assistance post-Taliban takeover accumulates to ±€779 million for the period of end of 2021-2023 (±€311 million per year). This amount is significantly higher compared to the financial assistance provided by other countries to Afghanistan such as China who pledged only ±14% of this amount (±$37,4 million) in 2022.



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