Among public health challenges in Afghanistan, communicable diseases still predominate because the epidemiologic transition to chronic disease has not yet occurred. Afghanistan's 10-year journey to improve its response to communicable disease is reflected in varying degrees of progress and innovation, all while long-standing conflict and geographic inaccessibility limit outreach and effective service delivery to vulnerable populations. Although Afghanistan is close to achieving polio elimination, other reportable communicable diseases are only slowly achieving their goals and objectives through targeted, sustained programmatic efforts. The introduction of disease early warning systems has allowed for identification and investigation of outbreaks within 48 hours. Tuberculosis case detection has risen over the last 10 years, and treatment success rates have been sustained at World Health Organization targets over the last 5 years at 85%. These successes are in large part due to increased government commitment, Global Fund support, training of community health workers and improved laboratory capabilities. Malaria cases dropped between 2002 and 2010. HIV/AIDS has been kept at low levels except in only certain sub-sectors of the population. In order to build on these achievements, Afghanistan will need a comprehensive strategy for all communicable diseases, with better human and infrastructure development, better multi-sectoral development and international collaboration.