The Afghanistan Human Development Report 2011 is appearing at a critical moment. The world’s attention is focused on this impoverished landlocked country on the threshold of the 10-year countdown to the 2020 target of the Millennium Development Goals. There are worrying signs that scarcity is looming. During the past nine years, Afghanistan has achieved gains in health, education and the standard of living. Yet, the number and magnitude of the remaining difficulties are significant. Access to safe water is one of the chief challenges.