What did billions in aid to Afghanistan accomplish?

1. What did foreign economic aid accomplish in Afghanistan?

Some US$150 billion in nonmilitary U.S. aid flowed into Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020, plus billions more from its allies and international organizations.

For those two decades, Afghanistan’s economic development aid largely funded education, health care, governance reforms and infrastructure – including schools, hospitals, roads, dams and other major construction projects.

One notable result in terms of education was that far more students were enrolled in school. The number of students jumped from 900,000 in 2001 to more than 9.5 million in 2020. Foreign aid helped build about 20,000 elementary schools, and the number of universities grew sharply as well. The number of Afghans enrolled in higher education programs soared from 7,000 in 2001 to about 200,000 in 2019. There were no female college students in 2001, but there were 54,861 in 2019.

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