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Afghanistan: Overseas Aid

Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reconstruction and development objectives his Department set for (a) education, (b) water and sanitation, (c) healthcare, (d) microfinance and (e) poppy eradication prior to the invasion of Afghanistan; what assessment he has made of the extent to which they have been achieved; and if he will make a statement. (122749)

Prior to September 2001, DFID's development strategy for Afghanistan supported the UN-led strategic framework for Afghanistan. Between September 2001 and the fall of the Taliban regime, DFID's objectives were primarily humanitarian, specifically to:

Help meet immediate life-saving needs in areas such as food, water, healthcare and shelter;

Support refugee needs for assistance and protection in neighbouring countries (and cross-border operations where feasible), for example through programmes in health, food, water and sanitation;

Strengthen international humanitarian agency capacity and coordination;

Help re-establish the international community's presence in Afghanistan; and

Support peacemaking efforts and encourage forward planning for Afghanistan's post-conflict recovery.

Having helped to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and support the establishment of an interim Afghan Administration, DFID's focus shifted from humanitarian assistance to reconstruction and development.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) proposals and (b) strategies his Department had in place prior to the invasion of Afghanistan for the reconstruction and development of that country. (122768)

DFID's development strategy in Afghanistan prior to September 2001 was to support the UN-led strategic framework for Afghanistan. Prior to, during and immediately after the invasion our work was focused on supporting the humanitarian response and meeting immediate life-saving needs in areas such as food, water, healthcare and shelter. From late 2001, DFID's approach supported the Bonn agreement, which set out the key milestones to recreating a legitimate Afghan government. Our strategy has been to support such a government in identifying its priorities for Afghan reconstruction and development, which we can then support.

Details of specific proposals we received from UN agencies, NGOs and others are no longer easily accessible as they have been archived. Searching for the broad range of all proposals in place prior to the invasion would unfortunately, involve a disproportionate cost.