KABUL – US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has announced a significant cut in aid to Afghanistan for the year 2023. West has said the U.S. and its allies have curtailed aid by $2 billion due to US’s disapproval of the policies of the Taliban rulers, particularly concerning women and girls’ rights. West also warned that if Taliban don’t alter certain policies, more cuts in foreign humanitarian aid will be inevitable.
Speaking to BBC, West clarified that the reduced aid does not solely come from the United States but is also provided by close allies. This indicates a shared concern among international partners that substantial aid will only be resumed once there is a substantial transformation in the way Afghanistan is governed.
The timing of this aid reduction coincides with ongoing talks between the IEA and the US in Doha. In response to the cut, Zabihullah Mujahid, the IEA’s spokesman, argued that the humanitarian crisis and the assistance required by millions of Afghans should not be politicized. He emphasized that aid should be provided based on the human spirit and not influenced by political agendas. Mujahid also highlighted that the IEA is working towards self-sufficiency and will eventually reduce its dependence on international aid.
Amidst the tensions, Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi emphasized the need for dialogue instead of pressuring and sanctioning the Islamic Emirate. He believes that engaging in talks is the way forward to address concerns and foster cooperation between Afghanistan and the US.
The underlying issue here is the stance of the Taliban-led Islamic Emirate, which has been controversial due to its past human rights record and treatment of women and girls. The US and its allies’ decision to reduce aid serves as a response to these concerns and highlights the delicate balance between supporting the people of Afghanistan and holding the new governing authority accountable for its policies.