US, Qatar increase humanitarian assistance to Afghans

By Salaam Times

A volunteer carries aid received from the International Organisation for Migration for earthquake victims in the Afghan-Dubai village of Spera district in Khost province on June 26. [Ahmad Sahel Arman/AFP]

A volunteer carries aid received from the International Organisation for Migration for earthquake victims in the Afghan-Dubai village of Spera district in Khost province on June 26. [Ahmad Sahel Arman/AFP]

WASHINGTON -- The United States is providing nearly $327 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help the people of Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced last week.

The funding includes nearly $119 million through the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, he said in a statement Friday (September 23).

It also includes nearly $208 million through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, he said.

The new aid brings total US humanitarian assistance to Afghans in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries to more than $1.1 billion since August 2021.

"The United States remains committed to the Afghan people and continues to call on other members of the international community to adhere to pledges made during the March 31 High-Level Pledging Event on Supporting the Humanitarian Response in Afghanistan," the statement said.

This assistance from the United States will continue to support the scaled-up humanitarian response in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries through international humanitarian organisations.

These include the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and other implementing partners in the region.

The latest funding also will provide emergency cash, shelter, healthcare and reintegration assistance to internally displaced persons and returnees.

It will provide protection, life-saving reproductive and maternal health, and gender-based violence prevention and response services.

Funding also will continue to support multi-sectoral assistance to Afghans in neighbouring countries, including health and nutrition services to Afghan refugees and host communities in Pakistan.

This will include COVID-19 screening and vaccination services.

Scholarships for Afghan students

Meanwhile, the newly appointed head of the US Mission to Afghanistan Karen Decker said she is ready to engage in dialogue with Afghan representatives and citizens, and praised Qatar's support for education in Afghanistan.

"The US is the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan," she wrote in a Saturday Twitter post. "Beyond basic needs, we support programmes that promote human rights, particularly those of women & girls."

"We will continue to co-ordinate with allies, partners and international stakeholders to support the Afghan people, celebrate Afghanistan's diverse culture, advance US interests, and promote international norms," she added.

Decker also lauded Qatar's "unfaltering support of the Afghan people, often under challenging circumstances", adding that it is "a powerful testament to Qatar's commitment to regional peace & stability".

Qatar is increasing efforts ensuring access to education among Afghan evacuees through the Qatar Afghan Scholarship Project (QASP), launched last week.

The Education Above All Foundation and the Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD) announced the initiative, Doha News reported.

The programme provides full scholarships for 250 Afghan students at more than 40 US colleges and universities in at least 17 states.

The scholarship beneficiaries are located in various countries where they sought shelter last year, including northern Iraq, Kyrgyzstan and Albania.

"An educated society is key to the successful future of any country, it underpins all other areas of development," said Khalifa al-Kuwari, QFFD's Director General.

"This project will support Afghan students now and build a foundation for greater prosperity of the country in the years to come."

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Thanks to the United States for its humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan; however, the United States of America cannot evade its main responsibilities by providing this assistance. Twenty years ago, the United States of America and its allied countries invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of eradicating terrorists. During its 20 years of war in Afghanistan, the United States killed many Afghans and caused a mess of destruction. During these 20 years, the United States failed to establish a powerful government in Afghanistan using all its techniques and strength. Not because it did not have the ability but because the United States did not want a strong government to be built in Afghanistan. Now, the United States left Afghanistan after 20 years of killing Afghans, and the same terrorist group is ruling the country, and the condition of its people is terrible. Worse than 20 years ago. If the United States truly wants to help, it should put pressure on Pakistan and end Pakistan's occupation of Afghanistan.