A range of international development and humanitarian actors have aimed to support women’s rights in Afghanistan, from a variety of different policy perspectives. Support has tended to focus on government and state structures, but this top-down approach has had a very limited impact on the lives of women. Progress has been held up by a range of factors familiar in fragile contexts. This article draws on the perspectives of three organisations and a range of other activists, to explore how international actors can help to anchor and build on gains made so far. In particular, they need to work in partnership with Afghan women themselves and their movements.