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US needs $2B to deliver aid to Afghanistan

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KABUL – US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has said the U.S. needs at least $2 billion to continue to deliver humanitarian assistance to millions of vulnerable Afghan. West said its partners will contribute the required amount only when there is a significant change in Taliban government’s conduct.

Speaking to BBC Pashto, West clarified that the reduced aid does not solely come from the United States but is also provided by its close allies who, he said, “share deep concerns that the assistance cannot and should not be delivered absent a significant change in Taliban’s conduct.

“Our judgment is that in this year, 2023, we face a roughly $2 billion hole, a shortfall in the assistance that needs to be delivered in order to meet the most urgent needs of Afghans, in order to keep the currency stable, in order to help to keep the economy relatively liquid,” he told BBC Pashto.

The timing of this aid reduction coincided with negotiations between the Taliban and the US in Doha. In response to the cut, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid 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 Taliban’s efforts to increase Afghanistan’s self-sufficiency and will eventually reduce its dependence on international aid.

Amidst the tensions, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi emphasized the need for dialogue instead of pressuring and sanctioning the Taliban government. He believes that engaging in talks is the only solution to address concerns and foster cooperation between Afghanistan and the US.

Correction Notice: This news report is re-published to correct a mistake in acquired information regarding US Special Representative Thomas West’s exclusive interview with BBC Pashto. We apologize for misrepresentation of Mr. West’s remarks.

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