The Biden administration Wednesday announced that it is working with Congress to allocate an additional $300 million for civilian assistance in Afghanistan as it plans to withdraw U.S. troops from the country.
Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBlinken speaks with Sudan's prime minister after African leader's detainment Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping Senate confirms four Biden ambassadors after delay MORE said in a statement that it is working to direct the funds both from his department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The assistance was announced in November as potentially being available at a later date but is being made available now.
“The funding will be targeted at sustaining and building on the gains of the past 20 years by improving access to essential services for Afghan citizens, promoting economic growth, fighting corruption and the narcotics trade, improving health and education service delivery, supporting women’s empowerment, enhancing conflict resolution mechanisms, and bolstering Afghan civil society and independent media,” Blinken said.
“As the United States begins withdrawing our troops, we will use our civilian and economic assistance to advance a just and durable peace for Afghanistan and a brighter future for the Afghan people.”
The announcement comes after President BidenJoe BidenBiden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day Business lobby calls for administration to 'pump the brakes' on vaccine mandate Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping MORE last week announced his plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. U.S. forces are expected to leave the country by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that sparked the conflict.
Biden said the 20-year conflict should come to an end and that the U.S. achieved its mission of preventing Afghanistan from being a safe harbor for terrorists.
“I believed that our presence in Afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went in the first place: to ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again. We did that, we accomplished that objective,” he added. “I've concluded that it's time to end America's longest war. It's time for American troops to come home.”
However, critics have said a withdrawal could produce a slide back in the country and grant the Taliban leeway in curtailing women’s rights as they did when they led the country before the U.S.’s 2001 invasion.
The prospects of a stable power-sharing agreement between the Taliban and the government in Kabul were dealt a blow Wednesday after it was announced that a summit to cobble together a deal was postponed after opposition from the Taliban.