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A young Afghan girl holds a younger sibling. Her mother and two other children are in the background.
Afghanistan crisis

How the IRC helps in Afghanistan

Our work in the country, which has from the start spanned “the arc of crisis” from conflict to resettlement, has never been more urgent and crucial.

Last updated 
Photo: IRC

The International Rescue Committee began work in Afghanistan in 1988. Our programs span eight provinces and reach millions, with additional support provided to Afghans who have fled to neighboring countries or who have been resettled in the United States. 

As the current crisis intensifies, our staff—99% of whom are native Afghans—will continue this critical work. Below, explore the ways that the IRC helps in Afghanistan.

To learn more about actions you can take, read our guide on five ways you can help Afghans today

A mother and father in Afghanistan sit on the ground among blankets and pillows, each with a child on their lap. The boy in the front is smiling and his father is looking at him.

A farming family in Afghanistan who had to flee their home due to drought. Cash they received from the IRC allowed them to take their child to the hospital.

Photo: IRC

Critical information 

Our global Signpost program, a suite of digital tools, provides accurate and trusted information in multiple languages for people in crisis or fleeing conflict. This critical service has reached over a million refugees, asylum seekers and crisis-affected communities in Colombia, Greece, Italy and El Salvador, to name a few locations. 

In Afghanistan, we plan to offer Signpost in Dari and Pashto, the most widely spoken languages in the country, to share information about resettlement, including information for individuals who helped U.S. programs or troops.

Cash assistance 

Cash assistance, one of the most effective and efficient forms of aid, allows families to decide for themselves what they need the most. Our initial response will focus on providing food, water and shelter for people who have fled to Kabul. We plan to help families buy essential goods and services once banks and other institutions reopen.

An Afghan woman looks at the camera while standing against a wall

This Afghan mother of four received cash assistance from the IRC after her husband, an architect, struggled to find work during an economic crisis toed to a major drought. The family decided to use the cash to purchase food.

Photo: IRC

Outside of Kabul, we hope to reach communities in need across affected provinces, including locations heavily affected by conflict. Among our priorities are farmers in need of cash to harvest and send crops to market.

Health 

Afghans are experiencing a rapid decline of existing health services in addition to COVID-19. We will help by setting up mobile clinics and offering online support to district level clinics. Our health programs will also address the needs of women and girls, including maternal health care.

Education 

Education can be a lifeline for children in crisis or conflict, helping them to cope and to build a brighter future. In Afghanistan, we will provide safe, healing learning spaces to the tens of thousands of displaced children missing school because of conflict and COVID-19. 

A young girl sits with a notebook on her lap ready to write while looking up at a teacher. There are other young girls sitting behind her.

A girl learning at an IRC-supported Safe Healing and Learning Space in Afghanistan.

Photo: IRC

These spaces will offer psychological and emotional support on top of basic literacy and math instruction. They will also provide clean water and sanitation for children whose families have been uprooted.

Welcoming Afghans to the U.S.  

Recently, the IRC assisted with the resettlement of Afghans affiliated with the U.S. who were relocated to a government base in Virginia. We’ve also welcomed Afghans who arrived in other regions in America 

As more Afghans resettle in the U.S., we will continue to help them integrate and thrive in their new homes.

In front of a house, Muska Haseeb holds a baby and poses with her family, one man, two other woman and two babies.

Muska Haseeb (far left) fled Afghanistan and lived as a refugee in Pakistan for five years before resettling in 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. Today, she is a pre-med student and entrepreneur. When refugees like Muska are welcomed in the U.S., they thrive and make their communities stronger.

Photo: Andrew Oberstadt/IRC

How you can help 

Donations from individuals, companies and foundations are critical to meet the needs of those affected by the crisis in Afghanistan. The IRC is appealing for much-needed funds to ensure our teams deliver lifesaving aid in conflict areas.

Donate now to help the IRC support Afghans in crisis.

The IRC is consistently awarded top marks by charity watchdog groups for our efficient use of donor contributions and the effectiveness of our work. See more reasons to give to the IRC.