US pledges additional $266m in Afghanistan aid

Additional humanitarian funding comes as Biden administration continues towards full military withdrawal

An family in the city of Ghazni, south-eastern Afghanistan. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said new aid will 'provide life-saving protection, shelter, livelihoods, opportunities' for Afghans. AFP 
An family in the city of Ghazni, south-eastern Afghanistan. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said new aid will 'provide life-saving protection, shelter, livelihoods, opportunities' for Afghans. AFP 

The US on Friday pledged an additional $266 million in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, as Washington continues the ongoing troop withdrawal.

This departure will bring an end to America's involvement in the almost two-decade conflict by September 11.

“This assistance from the American people will help our international humanitarian partners provide support to some of the estimated 18 million people in need in Afghanistan, including more than 4.8 million Afghans internally displaced,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

He added that the funding “will allow our partners to provide life-saving protection, shelter, livelihoods, opportunities, essential health care, emergency food aid, water, sanitation and hygiene services to respond to the needs generated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic".

Mr Blinken said that the aid would also help women and girls facing gender-based violence.

Including the assistance announced on Friday, the US has contributed $3.9 billion in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan since 2002.

However, the country’s future remains uncertain as US forces pull out and key members of Congress have threatened to place restrictions on future aid if the Taliban rolls back human rights gains as part of its role in any future government.

US Central Command announced this week that the withdrawal is anywhere between 30 to 44 per cent complete.

Despite the withdrawal, the US-backed Afghan government and the Taliban have yet to arrive at a political settlement to end the long-running war.

“We urge Afghan leaders and the Taliban to accelerate progress towards a negotiated political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire to bring an end to over 40 years of conflict and create the conditions that will allow refugees to return to their homes safely,” said Mr Blinken.

Updated: June 5, 2021 04:54 PM

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