Fri, 07 Oct 2022

Washington [US], September 24 (ANI): The US is providing USD 327 million in humanitarian aid for the people of Afghanistan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Friday.

Taking to Twitter, Blinken said, "The United States is providing nearly $327 million in additional humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and Afghans in neighbouring countries to fund emergency support and health services. We remain committed to the Afghan people."In the funding, USD 119 million was through the Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and around USD 208 million through the US Agency for International Development's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. Bringing the total US humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries to over USD 1.1 billion since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, according to the statement released by the US Department of State.

The United States remains committed to the Afghan people and continues to call on other members of the international community to adhere to pledges made during the March 31 high-level pledging event on supporting the humanitarian response in Afghanistan.

"This assistance from the United States will continue to support the scaled-up humanitarian response in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries through international humanitarian organizations, including the United Nations Population Fund, International Organization for Migration, and other implementing partners in the region," the statement reads.

According to the statement, the funding will provide emergency cash, shelter, healthcare and reintegration assistance to internally displaced persons and returnees; as well as protection, life-saving reproductive and maternal health, and gender-based violence prevention and response services.

The funding will also support Afghans in neighbouring countries. The Afghan refugees and host communities in Pakistan will receive health and nutrition, particularly COVID-19 screening and vaccination services.

"Our commitment to the people of Afghanistan is enduring. We provide assistance to people in need, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, disability status, religion, or profession. We welcome the contributions of other donors toward this international response and urge others to generously support Afghanistan's humanitarian needs and maintain support for the Afghan people," Blinken added.

Earlier, on September 14, the US announced that it will release USD 3.5 billion of the total USD 7 billion frozen money from Afghanistan to the new "Afghan Fund" for humanitarian aid.

The Treasury Department of the US said that it would transfer USD 3.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets into a new Swiss-based trust fund that will be shielded from the Islamic Emirate and used to help stabilize Afghanistan's collapsed economy.

On July 27, United States' Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West and Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson led a senior interagency delegation from the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury to hold discussions on the issue of Afghan central bank reserves with the senior Taliban representatives and technocratic professionals in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The discussion took place during meetings that took place after the conclusion of the Uzbekistan-hosted Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan on July 26.

According to the State Department release, the United States expressed the need to address the urgent humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The two sides discussed ongoing efforts to enable the USD 3.5 billion in licensed Afghan central bank reserves to be used for the benefit of the Afghan people. The United States underscored the need to accelerate the work on these efforts.

After the Taliban seized the nation by force last year, the US froze Afghan reserves.

Earlier this year, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing for the USD 7 billion in frozen assets from Afghanistan's central bank to fund humanitarian relief in Afghanistan and compensate victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

More than half of the country's poverty-stricken population, or an estimated 24 million Afghans, face an acute food shortage and some one million children under five years of age could die from hunger by the end of this year, according to UN estimates following the US withdrawal from the country. (ANI)

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