Country Assistance Program Evaluation for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Date: October 2012
Type: Evaluation Reports
ADB administration and governance; Evaluation
Series: Country Assistance Program Evaluations


More than one-third of Afghanistan‘s people live on below $1 per day. Decades of war and civil strife have caused widespread suffering, creating formidable development challenges. When the Asian Development Bank (ADB) resumed its program in Afghanistan in 2002 alongside several other development partners, the immediate needs were to restore economic stability, rebuild institutions, and provide basic services. 

The hostilities have severely impeded the operations of Afghanistan‘s development partners and progress on socioeconomic development.

This country assistance program evaluation provides an independent assessment of ADB‘s strategy and program in Afghanistan during 2002–2011. It identifies key issues and challenges and draws lessons and recommendations to guide future operations.

ADB is the fourth largest of Afghanistan‘s development partners in terms of total support, after the United States, Japan, and the European Union. During the evaluation period, ADB approved lending and nonlending projects amounting to $2.7 billion. Among the achievements of that support are a 750-kilometer network of rehabilitated and improved roads, four airports, and a new rail system.

In the energy sector, the main outcome is significantly improved power supplies to Kabul. The Afghanistan International Bank, supported by ADB private sector operations, has a reputation for good corporate governance. ADB has also contributed to financial reforms.

The evaluation study finds that ADB’s support was strategically focused, and consistent with the overarching objective of economic growth through reconstruction and rehabilitation. But it found the quality of project design was weak, with overly ambitious designs, absent or unrealistic targets, and weak adherence to required due diligence.

Against the backdrop of continuing conflict, the study recommends that ADB’s next Country Partnership Strategy for Afghanistan is set for a shorter period of 3 years or less, and have a “realistic assessment of the current and likely future security environment.” It recommends a shift from an externally and centrally driven development approach to one that responds to overall country demands. The study also recommends developing and closely monitoring a capacity development and governance improvement plan that is carefully calibrated to Afghanistan’s unique circumstances.


  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Executive Summary
  • Maps
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • Chapter 2. Country Context
  • Chapter 3. Country Strategies and Program
  • Chapter 4. Design and Implementation of the Strategies and Program
  • Chapter 5. Support for Capacity Development
  • Chapter 6. Results and Sustainability
  • Chapter 7. Assessment
  • Chapter 8. Challenges, Lessons, and Recommendations
  • Appendixes
Country Assistance Program Evaluation for Afghanistan