Emily Horne, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, stated in a statement, that new aid from U.S. Agency for International Development would flow through independent humanitarian organisations and be used for shelter, food, water, sanitation, and hygiene services.
Since the Taliban tookover, Afghanistan's troubled economy has been in turmoil. The international community accounted for nearly 80% of Afghanistan’s previous budget. This money was used to finance schools, factories, and government ministries. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the health care shortages and malnutrition, has further increased the need for these basic necessities.
According to the International Rescue Committee, which is a global humanitarian aid organisation, community health workers have seen a sharp rise in severe acute malnutrition cases in Khost and Herat. According to the group, food prices in Afghanistan have increased by 10% to 20% over the past five years.
David Milliband (IRC President and CEO) stated that the "cause for today's humanitarian catastrophe is clear: Afghanistan's economic tourniquet."
He said, "It's past time to change our approach."
USAID urged the Taliban to allow all aid workers, particularly women, to work independently and securely as humanitarian groups seek to help those in need.
The agency released a statement saying that the United States is still urging the Taliban to allow humanitarian access unimpeded, safe conditions for humanitarians and independent provision of aid to all people in need.
Separately, Tuesday's unveiling of the United Nations 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan to Afghanistan revealed that the country needs $4.4 billion in financing. This is the largest humanitarian appeal for any country.
Biden's new commitment increases U.S. humanitarian aid for Afghanistan to $780 million, more than any other U.S. assistance since August's chaotic end of the 20-year-old conflict. According to the United Nations, 22% of Afghanistan’s 38 million population are at risk of starvation and 36% are in serious food insecurity.
The White House also pledged to send Afghanistan 1,000,000 additional COVID-19 vaccine vaccine doses via COVAX, a World Health Organization initiative to increase vaccine access. The new shipment of doses means that the U.S. will now have sent 4.3 millions doses to Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been struggling to cope with the relentless pandemic.
After the Taliban took control in mid-August, international funding for Afghanistan was stopped and billions of dollars worth of assets were frozen in America.
The U.S. and international community decided not to recognize the Taliban government. This was a government that governed according to strict Islamic law from 1996 to 2001. It has caused a dilemma for Western powers on how to provide sufficient aid without giving legitimacy to the Taliban. They believe that by giving money directly towards independent aid organizations, they will be able keep the Taliban from receiving it.
Aid groups warn of a humanitarian disaster as a result of the lack of funding. In the last few months, state employees have not received their salaries, including teachers, doctors, and administrative civil servants. The banks have also restricted the amount of money that account holders can withdraw.
The Taliban called for the international community's assistance in preventing a humanitarian catastrophe by requesting funds to be released.
Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, Chris Murphy stated that it was in America's best interest and that of its allies to alleviate Afghan suffering.