EU providing $1.2B in emergency aid to Afghanistan, neighbors

EU providing $1.2B in emergency aid to Afghanistan, neighbors
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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday that the European Union will be sending an aid package worth about 1 billion euro to Afghanistan and neighboring countries.

“We must do all we can to avert a major humanitarian and socio-economic collapse in Afghanistan. We need to do it fast," von der Leyen said in the announcement.

"We have been clear about our conditions for any engagement with the Afghan authorities, including on the respect of human rights. So far, the reports speak for themselves," she said. "But the Afghan people should not pay the price of the Taliban's actions. This is why the Afghan support package is for the Afghan people and the country's neighbors who have been the first in providing them with help.”

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Von der Leyen first announced plans for a wider "Afghan Support Package" in September during her State of the European Union address.

The package will include 300 million euros — roughly $346 million — for humanitarian purposes that were already agreed upon, according to the EU, and will be accompanied by support for shelter, vaccines and the protection of human rights.

The funds will be channelled into the local Afghanistan population through international organizations already on the ground in the country.

"Afghanistan's direct neighbors have been the first to provide safety to the Afghans who have fled the country. This is why additional funds will be allocated to support these countries in migration management, as well as in cooperation on terrorism prevention, fight against organized crime and migrant smuggling," the EU said.

Afghanistan's access to global resources was largely cut off after the Taliban took control in August, with international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund moving to block resources. The Biden administration is reported to have frozen billions in Afghan government funds being held in U.S. banks.

The United Nations has warned that Afghanistan is at risk of collapsing and falling into famine due to disrupted humanitarian aid. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issued a warning in September, saying millions of Afghans could run out of food this winter. According to Guterres, international donors have pledged more than a billion dollars in support of Afghanistan so far.

Last month the U.S. announced it would be sending nearly $64 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. The funding will come from the U.S. Agency for International Development and will be distributed through the U.N.