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Aid effectiveness has been an important subject in discourses around Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development. NGOs are important players in this discourse and there are contradictory views about their function, accountability and effectiveness. The present article gives an overview of the context in which NGOs have operated in Afghanistan since 1979, when the Soviets invaded the country. It then discusses the public perception of NGOs and the sources of this perception, and concludes that donors’ lack of understanding of the local context and their policies have contributed to local NGOs’ ineffectiveness.

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