US announces $144 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

Washington: The United States will provide USD 144 million in assistance to the people of Afghanistan who have been facing a grave humanitarian crisis under the Taliban, Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced here.

The assistance will be provided directly to independent international and non-governmental humanitarian organisations, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the World Health Organization (WHO), following extensive vetting and monitoring, Blinken said on Thursday.

“This funding provides support directly to some of the more than 18 million vulnerable Afghans in need in the region, including Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries,” he said.

With this, the total American humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and for Afghan refugees in the region increases to nearly USD 474 million in 2021, the largest amount of assistance from any nation, Blinken said.

“It will enable our partners to provide lifesaving protection, food security support, essential healthcare, winterisation assistance, logistics, and emergency food aid in response to the growing humanitarian needs exacerbated by healthcare shortages, COVID-19, drought, malnutrition, and the impending winter,” the secretary of state said.

“To be clear, this humanitarian assistance will benefit the people of Afghanistan and not the Taliban, whom we will continue to hold accountable for the commitments they have made,” he asserted.

Observing that Afghanistan’s neighbours have long hosted one of the largest and most protracted refugee situations in the world, Blinken thanked the host countries and urged them to keep their borders open to Afghans seeking international protection.

“With this new humanitarian funding, we will continue to support our partners in the region with lifesaving assistance and protection services to Afghan refugees, while we continue to support Afghans in need inside Afghanistan,” Blinken said.

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