US announces additional $204 million in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan

Washington, Mar 31 (EFE).- Washington on Thursday announced an additional $204 million in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, bringing the total donated since its withdrawal in August last year to $720 million.

About $134 million of the $204 million will come directly from the State Department, and $70 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the State Department said.

“This funding will provide emergency cash, shelter, trauma care and essential health services, water, sanitation and hygiene assistance, protection and gender-based violence services, multisectoral assistance, and reintegration assistance to internally displaced and returnee populations in Afghanistan and refugee populations in neighboring countries,” it said.

The money will be channeled through independent humanitarian organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

On Monday, the US government led by Joe Biden said it was alarmed and deeply concerned about the stifling of press freedom in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been in power since the US withdrawal last year.

The US said that the Taliban have suppressed citizens’ access to international, independent and objective news sources, citing denunciations in this regard by Western news outlets BBC, Voice of America and Deutsche Welle.

These outlets have denounced in recent days that their partners in Afghanistan have been banned from broadcasting their programs due to new, unpublished guidelines.

In addition, the US defended the rights of Afghan women and again criticized the Taliban regime’s decision to ban girls from going to secondary school.

“Each of these actions alone is alarming, but combined, they make clear the Taliban are not living up to the essential commitments they made to the Afghan people and the international community,” the State Department said. EFE


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