Afghanistan: Switzerland increases its humanitarian aid on the ground

Bern, 08.09.2021 - At its meeting of 8 September 2021, the Federal Council decided to step up its humanitarian engagement in Afghanistan. It approved an additional contribution of CHF 33 million to bolster aid on the ground. Switzerland is, with this contribution, supporting the suffering population in Afghanistan with around CHF 60 million over the next 16 months.

Switzerland reacted quickly to the shifted circumstances in Afghanistan by evacuating Swiss citizens and local Afghan employees of the Swiss cooperation office in Kabul and their families. In the next phase, Switzerland will focus on assistance on the ground. The top priority is to protect and care for displaced persons in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries.

Precarious humanitarian situation

At today's meeting, the Federal Council decided to increase its aid in Afghanistan and in the surrounding countries. To this end, it approved an additional contribution of CHF 33 million to bolster humanitarian aid on the ground. This includes CHF 10 million that Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) will contribute from its existing credits. The remaining CHF 23 million will come in the form of a supplementary credit. Parliament will discuss this supplementary credit. Together with the regular budget for 2022, Swiss aid to Afghanistan and the surrounding countries will amount to CHF 60 million over the next 16 months.

This is Switzerland's response to the precarious circumstances in Afghanistan. An acute humanitarian emergency is hitting the country's population. The threat of economic collapse, the ongoing drought, and famine will further increase the number of people in need of humanitarian aid.

Reducing poverty and protecting the civilian population

Economically and socially, Afghanistan is one of the world's least developed countries. Switzerland has been on the ground there since 2002 and its programme helps reduce poverty. Swiss support currently amounts to CHF 27 million annually, of which CHF 18 million goes to development cooperation and CHF 9 million to humanitarian aid. Further support, totalling CHF 500,000 per year, comes from the State Secretariat for Migration. The programme focuses on the rule of law and the protection of the civilian population, agriculture and natural resource management, and basic education. Switzerland temporarily closed its office in Kabul in August 2021. Switzerland works closely with the United Nations, international non-governmental organisations, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Switzerland welcomes the UN-convened conference to be held in Geneva this coming Monday, 13 September, to discuss the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and increase aid to the country.

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