Liz Truss pledges another 75m in aid to Afghanistan at G7 meeting
Written by First Choice Radio on 12 December 2021
A further £75 million in aid is to be given to Afghanistan by the UK to help address its worsening humanitarian situation, Liz Truss has announced.
The Foreign Secretary said the commitment would help save lives and “support stability in the region”.
It follows discussions among G7 foreign ministers in Liverpool on Saturday about what co-ordinated action can be taken in Afghanistan, along with how to engage with the Taliban rulers.
The militant group stormed Kabul in a lightning advance in August, as 20 years of occupation of the central Asian country was brought to a close with a hurried allied withdrawal.
Ms Truss said: “The UK is providing vital humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan this winter.
“The funds announced today will save lives, protect women and girls and support stability in the region.
“We are determined to do all we can for the people of Afghanistan.”
The additional financial support will bring the UK’s commitment to Afghanistan to £286 million this year.
It will be used to provide support for victims of gender-based violence and to fund essential child protection services.
The United Nations and aid agencies will prioritise those most at risk including households headed by women and disabled people, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said (FCDO).
Officials said no funding would go directly through the Taliban, instead being funnelled through the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund, World Food Programme (WFP) and other organisations.
The WFP will receive £34 million of the funding announced on Sunday.
David Beasley, the organisation’s executive director, said the donation would “help us save many lives”.
“What we are seeing on the ground is heart-breaking – 23 million people are facing severe hunger in a country crippled by drought, conflict and an economic crisis,” he said.
“Women and children are bearing the brunt of this suffering and, as the harsh winter descends, more and more are slipping into malnutrition and starvation each day.”
This week the UN’s humanitarian chief warned that Afghanistan’s economic collapse was “happening before our eyes” and urged the international community to take action to stop “the freefall” before it leads to more deaths.
Martin Griffiths said: “It’s getting more and more dire by the week.”
The funding announcement comes after ministers this week faced awkward questions about the Afghan withdrawal effort following a whistleblower’s evidence to MPs.
Raphael Marshall, who worked for the Foreign Office during Operation Pitting, claimed just 5% of Afghan nationals who applied to flee under one UK scheme received help as a result of the “dysfunctional” and “chaotic” handling of the situation.
Mr Marshall told the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee that some of those hoping to escape were murdered after being left behind in Kabul.
He also claimed Boris Johnson requested that “considerable capacity” was made available to evacuate animals from a shelter run by former Royal Marine Paul “Pen” Farthing, putting the lives of troops at risk to help aid their departure on a privately funded plane.
The Prime Minister has called the claims “complete nonsense”.
At the Museum of Liverpool on Sunday, Ms Truss will have discussions with foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, who are attending the G7 gathering for the first time – most of them virtually.
The Foreign Secretary will stress the importance of working with south-east Asia’s “economies of the future” to tackle the current challenges facing the West, the FCDO said.
The invitation to Asian ministers comes after the UK’s integrated review on foreign policy announced in March a “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific, in a move seen as aiming to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
Published: by Radio NewsHub