In the year since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, hundreds of stories have emerged highlighting the efforts of Afghans to advocate for rights, justice, and dignity in the face of severe humanitarian and human-rights crises. Such stories reflect the courage and tenacity of Afghan civil society that drew the three of us to philanthropic work in the country in the first place. Unfortunately, those same groups now tell us that funding has dried up, and many Afghan organizations focused on building peace are struggling to survive.
Following the Taliban takeover, a large number of civil-society leaders, particularly women, were forced to flee the country, and a severe lack of funding and a repressive operating environment led many organizations to shut their doors. No public data is currently available on how many of these nonprofits are still functioning. But in his first report as the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett expressed concern about the county’s rapidly shrinking civic space.