EU announces 1-bn-euro aid package for Afghanistan

EU announces 1-bn-euro aid package for Afghanistan

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Brussels: The EU on Tuesday pledged a one-billion-euro ($1.2-billion) aid package for Afghanistan, “to avert a major humanitarian and socio-economic collapse,” the bloc s chief Ursula von der Leyen said.

A statement said that the money is an increase of 250 million euros to the 300 million euros previously announced by the European Union for emergency humanitarian needs, and the remaining funds will be donated to neighboring countries of Afghanistan to receive Afghans fleeing Taliban rule. .

Von der Lein made this commitment at the G20 virtual summit hosted by Italy, which is dedicated to discussing the humanitarian and security situation in Afghanistan.

Her statement emphasized that EU funds are “direct support” for Afghans and will be used for international organizations working locally, not the provisional Taliban government that Brussels does not recognize.

EU development aid — different from humanitarian aid — remains frozen.

“We must do all we can to avert a major humanitarian and socioeconomic collapse in Afghanistan. We need to do it fast,” von der Leyen said, observing that winter was approaching.

“We have been clear about our conditions for any engagement with the Afghan authorities, including on the respect of human rights. So far, the reports speak for themselves. But the Afghan people should not pay the price of the Taliban s actions,” she said.

EU countries are wary at the prospect of a surge of Afghan asylum-seekers trying to enter the bloc, as happened in 2015 with Syrians fleeing their war.

Brussels  calculation is that donating money to help stabilise Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and help out countries between it and Europe could stem any flow.

Von der Lein has stated that EU countries—especially those participating in the NATO mission that hurriedly withdrew after the Taliban came to power in August—have a “moral responsibility” to help Afghans.

The announced 1 billion euro aid package will increase Afghanistan’s health expenditures. In neighboring countries, it will help immigration management and promote cooperation in combating terrorism, crime and immigration smuggling.

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