Rest of Asia

Biden announces Dh367 million in emergency aid for Afghan refugees

Filed on July 24, 2021
People wait for the opening of border crossing in the Pakistan's border town of Chaman, following clashes between Afghan forces and Taleban fighters. Photo: AFP

The funds will also support those applying for Special Immigrant Visas.

US President Joe Biden on Friday authorised $100 million (Dh367 million) from an emergency fund for the “purpose of meeting unexpected urgent refugee and migration needs” emerging from Afghanistan as violence escalates in the war-torn country, the White House announced.

In a statement on Friday, the White House said that such assistance may be provided on a bilateral or multilateral basis as appropriate, including through contributions to international organisations and through funding to other nongovernmental organisations, governments, and United States departments and agencies.

The statement said the money would come from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund.

The funds will also support those applying to the State Department program of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), under which some 20,000 Afghans who worked as interpreters for the United States during its war in the country and now fear retribution from Taleban insurgents have applied for evacuation.

Early this month, Washington said it is launching an operation to evacuate Afghans who helped US troops during the war in Afghanistan and are facing threats to their lives from the Taleban.

“At President Joe Biden’s direction, the United States is launching Operation Allies Refuge to support relocation flights for interested and eligible Afghan nationals and their families who have supported the United States and our partners in Afghanistan and are in the SIV application pipeline,” the official said.

Afghanistan has witnessed a spike in violence in Afghanistan as the Taleban has intensified its offensive against civilians and Afghan security forces with the complete pullback of foreign forces just a few weeks away.

The withdrawal is about 95 per cent done, U.S. Central Command said early this month. One of the last major steps in the withdrawal happened Monday when Gen. Scott Miller, who was the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, left his command.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has expressed concern with the number of reported “serious human rights abuses” and violations alleged in communities most affected by the ongoing military offensive across the country.

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