The Biden administration on Tuesday announced plans to send an additional $ 308 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan as the country approaches economic collapse five months after the Taliban seize power.
“The new humanitarian aid from USAID’s Agency for International Development (USAID) will flow directly through independent humanitarian organizations and help provide lifesaving protection and shelter, essential health care, winterization assistance, food aid, water, sanitation and hygiene services in response to growing humanitarian needs. exacerbated by COVID-19 and lack of health care, drought, malnutrition and the winter season, “said National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne in a statement announcing the assistance.
“The United States is committed to supporting the Afghan people, and we continue to consider all the options available to us. We stand with the people of Afghanistan,” Horne added.
Afghanistan is on the brink of economic collapse following the Taliban’s takeover in August, which caused the international community to cut off much of its funding, on which the Afghan government relied to support schools, hospitals and other organizations.
This week, the UN asked the international community to donate over $ 5 billion to Afghanistan to avert what it described as a “complete humanitarian catastrophe.”
The UN estimated last fall that 23 million Afghans would face potentially life-threatening hunger heading into the winter months.
The additional assistance announced by the White House on Tuesday brings the total U.S. humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and refugees in the region since October to nearly $ 782.
The White House also noted that the administration is sending 4.3 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses to the country.
Last month, the Treasury Department moved to ease restrictions on certain humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, enabling the U.S. government as well as international and humanitarian organizations to distribute more aid to the country without conflicting with sanctions against the Taliban and the Haqqani network. , both of which are designated terrorist organizations.
The action was intended to help pay teachers’ salaries and support other development projects that directly benefit the Afghan people.