Swedish Support to Afthanistan

Sweden, which has contributed an average of SEK 100 million per year, was before September 11, 2001 the fourth largest donor after the EU, the USA and Japan. Over the years, Sida, along with its Swedish and international cooperation partners, has acquired considerable experience of assistance to Afghanistan.

In many respects, the picture which emerges from the country analysis of conditions in Afghanistan is extreme. Twenty years of conflict and recurring natural disasters have devastated the economy and its social institutions.

It is considered that Afghanistan will continue to need extensive assistance. As well as being guided by basic human-itarian principles, Sida will be turning its long experience in this field to account and building on earlier successes. Thus assist-ance will continue to focus on humanitarian mine clearance, food safety, education and health and the return of refugees. The UN, the Red Cross movement and Swedish NGOs will continue to serve as the main channels for support. Particularly vulnerable target groups such as women, children, people with disabilities and oppressed ethnic minorities will be given special priority.

Sweden will support Afghanistan with between 750 million to 1 billion SEK during three years (2002-2004). The focus is from humanitarian assistance to gradually move towards an increased focus on long-term reconstruction projects.

In 2003 Sweden has committed and disbursed 330 million SEK and for 2004 Sweden commits around 270 million SEK To mention just a few projects, Sweden has provided support to:

-The UNICEF/AIA Back-to-school-project and also an additional 120 million SEK to a two years project for girls,

-Support to UNHCRs refugee repatriation-programme, support to improve the design of the Kabul-Torkham road, and the construction of bridges in key areas

- Further, Sweden supports the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF).

- With regard to the security sector, Sweden has provided peacekeepers to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) since January 2002. Initially the Swedish contribution consisted of recognisance and liaison officers. This force was replaced in august 2002 Sweden by a CIMIC unit. Sweden has further provided an expert to an education project within the effort to rebuild the Afghan police force.

- The Swedish ambassador to Pakistan is accredited to Afghanistan and the section for development cooperation of the embassy has opened an office in Kabul.