US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Friday more than $266 million worth of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
The assistance will provide support to "some of the estimated 18 million people in need in Afghanistan, including more than 4.8 million Afghans internally displaced," Blinken said in a statement.
"This year alone, more than 115,000 persons have been displaced by conflict inside Afghanistan, and nearly 500,000 have returned to Afghanistan in need of assistance," said the secretary. "This funding will allow our partners to provide lifesaving 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."
It will also meet the needs of "the most vulnerable" Afghans, including women and girls facing particular risks such as gender-based violence as a result of the pandemic and decades of conflict.
With this assistance, US humanitarian aid for Afghanistan reached nearly $3.9 billion since 2002, according to the statement.
Blinked also thanked the neighboring countries of Afghanistan which host one of the largest refugee populations and urged them to keep their borders open.
"As the United States withdraws military forces from Afghanistan, our enduring commitment is clear," he said. "We remain engaged through our full diplomatic, economic, and assistance toolkit to support the peaceful, stable future the Afghan people want and deserve."
He reiterated Washington's call to Afghan leaders and the Taliban to accelerate progress toward a negotiated political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire to bring an end to over 40 years of conflict.
Since President Joe Biden announced Sept. 11 as the withdrawal date for American troops, Afghanistan has seen an increase in deadly Taliban assaults on security forces and law-enforcement agencies across the country, resulting in mounting casualties on all sides.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.