The US has announced $144 million in humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan, "as part of our enduring commitment to the people" of the war-torn nation which is now controlled by the Taliban, according to the State Department.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Department said that with the new addition, the total US humanitarian aid to the country and for the Afghan refugees in the region has increased to nearly $474 million in 2021, the largest amount of assistance from any nation.
According to the Department, the assistance is provided directly to independent humanitarian organisations, including the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Unicef, International Organization for Migration (IOM), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other international and non-governmental organizations following extensive vetting and monitoring.
"This funding provides support directly to some of the more than 18 million vulnerable Afghans in need in the region, including Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries.
"It will enable our partners to provide lifesaving protection, food security support, essential health care, winterization assistance, logistics, and emergency food aid, in response to the growing humanitarian needs exacerbated by healthcare shortages, Covid-19, drought, malnutrition, and the impending winter," the statement said.
The Department made clear that "this humanitarian assistance will benefit the people of Afghanistan and not the Taliban, whom we will continue to hold accountable for the commitments they have made".
The State Department also that the countries that host the Afghan refugees "and urge them to keep their borders open to Afghans seeking international protection".
"With this new humanitarian funding, we will continue to support our partners in the region with lifesaving assistance and protection services to Afghan refugees, while we continue to support Afghans in need inside Afghanistan."
The Department further claimed that the US will work "vigorously to support all persons in vulnerable situations, including women, children, journalists, human rights defenders, persons with disabilities, LGBTQI+ individuals, and members of minority groups".