The United States has funded extensive “reconstruction and relief” programs in Afghanistan since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001. As of September 2012 (the latest reliable data), allotments for those programs totaled about $79.6 billion. 
Funding for reconstruction and relief largely comes from the Department of Defense, although the Department of State, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and other government agencies also contribute. Reconstruction and relief efforts are generally separated into three categories: Security, Governance and Development, and Humanitarian.
Security, whose funding dwarfs the other two allotments, includes anti-narcotics efforts as well as money to train and support the Afghan military.
Governance and development finances programs to build roads, schools, medical clinics, and other infrastructure in Afghanistan.
Humanitarian funding includes the establishment and maintenance of refugee camps, as well as the distribution of food aid.
All funding for reconstruction and relief is independent of funding associated with Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name for the war in Afghanistan. As of September 2012, the costs associated with Operation Enduring Freedom were about $440 billion.
  1. The U.S. strategic goal for Afghanistan is “to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaeda and prevent its return to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Specific objectives in Afghanistan in support of this goal are to (1) deny safe haven to al-Qaeda and (2) deny the Taliban the ability to overthrow the Afghan government.”


    Can you think of ways that security funding from “reconstruction and relief” aid would support this goal?


  2. Can you think of ways that governance and development funding would support the U.S. strategic goal in Afghanistan?


  3. Much of the security and governance and development funding is geared toward anti-drug activities.


    What do you think these activities involve, and how do you think they support the U.S. strategic goal in Afghanistan?


  4. Can you think of ways that humanitarian funding support the U.S. strategic goal in Afghanistan?


  • The third-largest allotment of “reconstruction and relief” funding in Afghanistan—about $3.5 billion—went to International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE). INCLE is a broad-based program that aims to reduce Afghan farmers’ economic reliance on opium crops and advise Afghan leaders on legal and political issues surrounding the international drug trade. INCLE is classified as “security” funding.
  • The second-largest allotment of “reconstruction and relief” funding in Afghanistan—about $15 billion—went to the Economic Support Fund (ESF). ESF supports infrastructure in Afghanistan, including building roads and schools, and helping establish a reliable health-care system and judiciary. ESF is classified as “governance and development” funding.
  • The largest single allotment of “reconstruction and relief” funding to Afghanistan—about $48 billion—went to the Afghan Security Forces Fund (ASFF). ASFF supports the purchase of aircraft, missiles, weapons, ammunition, and combat vehicles. ASFF is classified as “security” funding.

portion of something marked for a specific purpose.

Department of Defense

department of the U.S. government whose mission is "providing the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our country."

Department of State

department of U.S. government responsible for international relations, whose mission is to "Create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community."

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
adjective, noun

agency of the U.S. government whose mission is to "enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States."

food aid

money or food given to regions faced with malnutrition and starvation.


to give money to a program or project.


structures and facilities necessary for the functioning of a society, such as roads.


armed forces.


chemical substance that dulls or soothes the senses when it enters the bloodstream.

Operation Enduring Freedom

(2001-present) official name used by the U.S. government for the war in Afghanistan.


person who flees their home, usually due to natural disaster or political upheaval.


large-scale armed conflict.