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USAID works to strengthen Afghanistan’s basic infrastructure; increase access to reliable electricity;
USAID works to strengthen Afghanistan’s basic infrastructure; increase access to reliable electricity; design and build roads, schools, and hospitals.

Decades of war, a harsh climate, and neglect left much of Afghanistan’s infrastructure in rubble, hobbling efforts to rebuild. Without electricity, businesses could not operate machinery. Households had no running water for drinking, cooking and cleaning, and absence of clean drinking water posed a major public-health challenge. Underdeveloped roads hampered movement of goods to domestic and international markets, and isolated villages from basic government services, even police or military protection. Scarcity of classrooms and medical clinics restricted access to education and basic healthcare.


USAID has helped Afghans boost access to electricity, increase access to potable water, design, build, and maintain roads, and design and construct schools, clinics and hospitals. Security threats, forbidding geography and shortages of trained technicians all have presented challenges. USAID is now supporting the Afghan government’s efforts to operate and maintain existing infrastructure, invest in expanding access to electricity, and stimulate international investment.


  • Through a partnership with USAID, DABS upgraded the Kajaki Power Plant, increased its generation potential to 51.5 megawatts in 2016, and assumed full operations of the plant in 2017, providing access to cheaper and more reliable electricity in Helmand and Kandahar.
  • With USAID support, DABS signed contracts in 2016 to build a 400-kilometer transmission line between Ghazni and Kandahar to extend the national electrical grid to southern Afghanistan.
  • The USAID Corporate Management Support program has enabled DABS to enhance its financial, accounting, procurement, human resources and information technology systems.


Both USAID and the Afghan government recognize that access to electricity drives economic growth. USAID continues to partner with the Afghan government to expand access for citizens and businesses across the country. In 2002, only six percent of Afghans had access to reliable electricity; that number has increased to approximately 30 percent. Working with the U.S. military and Afghan government, USAID built and expanded the electricity generation and distribution network in southern Afghanistan. Generation capacity in this politically critical region has more than doubled, giving 80,000 households in Kandahar and Helmand their first-ever access to reliable electricity. With USAID support, the Afghan government installed a third turbine at Kajaki Dam, and USAID is supporting a project to strategically connect Afghanistan’s northern and southern electricity grids. The agency also is working directly with the national electric utility, DABS, to improve its management systems and its ability to collect revenue. This assistance has helped DABS to double revenue collection and increase its customer base by 73 percent from 2010 to 2016.


USAID has invested in the construction and rehabilitation of more than 2,000 kilometers (km) of roads to propel travel and commerce, including Afghanistan’s Ring Road, which connects the country’s five major cities: Herat, Kabul, Kandahar City, Jalalabad, and Mazar-e-Sharif. More than 80 percent of Afghans now live within 50 km of the Ring Road. USAID is now protecting its investments by providing emergency repairs to roads damaged by insurgent activities and natural disasters to ensure that strategic commercial corridors remain open.


As of 2015, only 47 percent of rural households have access to safe drinking water, and even fewer, 27 percent, have access to improved sanitation facilities. In response, the Afghan government and USAID constructed more tha n 3,000 we lls, primarily in rural communities, to provide reliable clean water for the first time to more than 863,000 Afghans, and nearly 4 2,000 latrines to prevent the spread of disease. Kabul is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and providing drinking water to the expanding population is a challenge. USAID, in partnership with the governments of Afghanistan, Germany, and France, is building water infrastructure to improve the water quality and supply for Kabul residents. USAID also is supporting the Afghan government to better manage water resources, train water and sanitation service providers, and improve revenue generation for more sustainable service delivery.


USAID has supported the design and construction of hundreds of hospitals, clinics, midwife and teacher-training centers, high schools, university residences and government office buildings across Afghanistan, two high schools, four provincial teacher-training centers, six faculties of higher education facilities, and two hospitals. A new 200-bed women’s’ dormitory at the American University of Afghanistan is expected to be completed in 2017. Since 2010, all USAID-funded buildings have been constructed to meet the International Building Code seismic standards.

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