The situation in Afghanistan remained a concern in 2016. Political instability, lack of economic development, a difficult security situation and a high level of corruption proved major hurdles to substantial development. The limited economic growth of 1.2% was insufficient to ensure a rise in Afghan living standards. At the same time, it should be noted that the Afghan government is increasingly taking over responsibilities from the international community. Healthcare development, strengthening the rule of law, education system improvements and the strengthening of civil society are promising developments in Afghanistan. Furthermore, it is encouraging to see that the Afghan government was able to broker a peace deal with former warlord Gulbudin Hekmatyar.

Featured project

Security and Rule of law in Afghanistan

Through the direct support of the Netherlands, more than 2,100 people gained access to justice and more than 1,170 female claimants had their cases reviewed by local Huquqs in northern Afghanistan. In addition, the Netherlands supports different projects that increase the capacity of the Government of Afghanistan to provide security and rule of law for its citizens. During one of our visits to Kunduz we had the opportunity to discuss progress in the area of rule of law in northern Afghanistan.

Key results of the embassy in Afghanistan

Security & Rule of Law

Indicator Score Progress

Number of people (M/F) who have increased access to justice (formal/informal: meaning those who have used formal or informal justice systems)

4,945 On track
Number of people who have increased access to justice
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

Although progress in the implementation of the Rule of Law programmes on a national level in Afghanistan remains challenging, the Netherlands has contributed to progress at a provincial and local level. The Netherlands supported access to the (formal and informal) justice systems and facilitated access to formal and informal justice for individuals through different implementing partners. One of those implementing partners is the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit). Through the Rule of Law programme, it delivered several types of training with the aim of enhancing the capacity of formal judicial systems in five Northern provinces; Balkh, Badakhshan, Kunduz, Samangan and Takhar. It also raised public legal awareness at community level. The training provided included: mediation procedures, training for members of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association, capacity building among Community Trial Monitors members, and training of Community Police forces. At a local level, the Netherlands has supported access to formal and informal justice systems for women. It should be noted, however, that access to justice for women remains a major challenge in Afghanistan, due to local, cultural and religious barriers. The 'Improving Justice for Women' programme has established a hotline service in the five aforementioned northern provinces. In 2016, 2,956 women received legal consultations through this service.

Establishing community-based Advocates for Peace Groups (APGs), number of members trained

400 On track
APG members trained
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

Through the training of local advocates for peace groups, the Netherlands supported local informal conflict resolution mechanisms and the informal justice sector in 2016. Although peace agreements and large conflict resolutions on a national level are not expected, local conflict resolution can be an important tool for safeguarding local peace and stability.

Women's Rights & Gender Equality

Indicator Score Progress

Number of female law practitioners in Balkh, Takhar and Kunduz provinces

198 Progress, not on track
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

Through the support of the Netherlands, 198 (cumulative) female lawyers received on-the-job-training and support in different provinces in Afghanistan. Although it is promising to see the number of female law practitioners rising, it is more difficult for girls to enter the University's Law and Sharia Faculty.

Number of volunteer gender focal points

22 On track
22 GFPs
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

12 Gender Focal Points (GFPs) have taken up their tasks in Balkh province and another 10 in Badakhshan province. GFPs are established to address gender issues in rural areas and to enable women to raise concerns and problems. Volunteers have been appointed to assist at the GFPs, which are connected to the local government judicial system.

Background & future

Interpretation of the results in context

Progress at project level is as (realistically) planned. Despite security challenges and corruption in Afghanistan, implementing partners were able to continue all their programmes in 2016. This was also due to the use of local (sub-)contractors. For some partners (e.g. reporting of Gender Based Violence on a national level), properly monitoring results appeared to be a challenge. Also, due to the recent terrorist attack on 31 May in Kabul, the 2016 results of the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) have not yet been published.

Glimpse into the future

Through NGOs, the Netherlands will continue to support local Afghan sub-contractors, as this provides the best opportunity to continue programmes under difficult circumstances. To focus greater attention on improved monitoring, the embassy will decrease the number of projects supported while maintaining overall financial support at a similar level. As for 2017, expectations for results need to be realistic: even with strong international support, the security situation in Afghanistan will remain challenging. Nonetheless, the Netherlands will continue to politically support all peace efforts in Afghanistan, as long as these are Afghan owned and led. The Netherlands will continue to support the Afghan National Security and Defence Forces in 2017, with a special focus on anti-corruption, merit-based leadership and further civilianisation of the police. Furthermore, in any new programmes the Netherlands will pay special attention to countering the root causes of migration and supporting the huge number of returnees from Pakistan to Afghanistan (e.g. through the Addressing Root Causes (ARC) projects in Afghanistan, which focus on creating employment opportunities).

Financial summary

Total expenditure Embassy € 28,798,491

Expenditure 2016 per theme

Expenditure 2016 per channel