Sun, 26 Sep 2021

Washington [US], September 14 (ANI): The United States on Monday announced nearly USD 64 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan.

This funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Department of State will flow through independent organisations, such as UN agencies and NGOs, and provide life-saving support directly to Afghans facing the compounding effects of insecurity, conflict, recurring natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement by the USAID.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US assistance to Afghanistan would circumvent the Taliban and go directly to non-government organisations and UN agencies providing relief to impoverished Afghans. The top US diplomat laid out the Biden administration's posture toward the Taliban in remarks to the House Foreign Affairs Committee -- his first testimony before Congress since the militant group swept to power last month.

"For assistance to be effective, we will need an environment conducive to the principled delivery of aid, including the ability for both female and male aid workers to operate freely. This contribution underscores the United States' commitment to the Afghan people," the statement.

Even before recent insecurity pushed people from their homes and increased needs, the USAID said it supported a large humanitarian response for more than 18 million people in Afghanistan.

This additional humanitarian assistance will provide vulnerable Afghans with critically needed food, health care, nutrition, medical supplies, protection, hygiene supplies, and other urgently needed relief.

USAID has also activated a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) - based outside of Afghanistan - to lead the U.S. Government's humanitarian response. This team, which is based outside of Afghanistan, is working with partners to provide aid and adapt programs in response to the new environment.

The United States is the single largest humanitarian donor in Afghanistan, providing nearly USD 330 million this year alone. We will continue to help alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people and call on other donors to step up their contributions to help deliver critical assistance directly to the people of Afghanistan.

On Monday, the United Nations convened an aid conference in Geneva where the nation's pledged more than $1 billion for Afghanistan in the hopes of lessening the humanitarian crisis facing Afghans.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on the international community to urgently offer a "lifeline" to millions of vulnerable Afghans "who face perhaps their most perilous hour".

"After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour," said UN. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Leading the appeal in Geneva for USD 606 million to support emergency aid for 11 million people across the country, Guterres said that even before the uncertainty caused by the Taliban takeover last month, people were in the grip of one of the worst crises in the world. (ANI)

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