As part of our commitment to the people of Afghanistan, the United States is providing more than $266 million in new humanitarian assistance, bringing total U.S. humanitarian aid for Afghanistan to nearly $3.9 billion since 2002.
This assistance from the American people will help our international humanitarian partners provide support to some of the estimated 18 million people in need in Afghanistan, including more than 4.8 million Afghans internally displaced. This year alone, more than 115,000 persons have been displaced by conflict inside Afghanistan, and nearly 500,000 have returned to Afghanistan in need of assistance. This funding will allow our partners to provide lifesaving protection, shelter, livelihoods opportunities, essential health care, emergency food aid, water, sanitation, and hygiene services to respond to the needs generated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, this assistance helps to address protection needs for the most vulnerable Afghans. This includes women and girls facing particular risks, including gender-based violence, as a result of the pandemic and decades of conflict.
We welcome the contributions of other donors toward this international response and urge others to generously support Afghanistan’s immediate humanitarian needs. Afghanistan’s neighbors have hosted one of the largest, most-protracted refugee populations in the world. We thank host countries for their ongoing commitment to the Afghan people and urge them to keep their borders open to Afghans seeking international protection and are working with our partners to assist host countries in their efforts.
For many years, the United States has prioritized support for Afghan returnees, refugees, and displaced persons. As the United States withdraws military forces from Afghanistan, our enduring commitment is clear. We remain engaged through our full diplomatic, economic, and assistance toolkit to support the peaceful, stable future the Afghan people want and deserve. We urge Afghan leaders and the Taliban to accelerate progress toward a negotiated political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire to bring an end to over forty years of conflict and create the conditions that will allow refugees to return to their homes safely.