White House announces $308M in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan
The Biden administration on Tuesday announced plans to send an additional $308 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan as the country nears economic collapse five months after the Taliban takeover.
“The new humanitarian assistance by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will directly flow through independent humanitarian organizations and help provide lifesaving protection and shelter, essential health care, winterization assistance, emergency food aid, water, sanitation, and hygiene services in response to the growing humanitarian needs exacerbated by COVID-19 and healthcare shortages, drought, malnutrition, and the winter season,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said in a statement announcing the assistance.
“The United States is committed to supporting the Afghan people and we continue to consider all options available to us. We stand with the people of Afghanistan,” Horne added.
Afghanistan is on the brink of economic collapse following the Taliban takeover in August, which caused the international community to cut off much of its funding that the Afghan government relied on to support schools, hospitals and other organizations.
This week, the United Nations asked the international community to donate over $5 billion to Afghanistan to ward off what it described as a “full-blown humanitarian catastrophe.”
The U.N. estimated last fall that 23 million Afghans would face potentially life-threatening hunger heading into the winter months.
The additional assistance announced by the White House on Tuesday brings the total of U.S. humanitarian aid provided to Afghanistan and refugees in the region since October to almost $782 million.
The White House also noted that the administration is sending 4.3 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses to the country.
Last month, the Treasury Department moved to ease restrictions on some humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan that allows the U.S. government as well as international and humanitarian organizations to distribute more aid to the country without running afoul of sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani network, both of which are designated terrorist organizations.
The action was intended to help pay teacher salaries and support other development projects directly benefiting the Afghan people.