Statement on U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan on COVID-19 and the Suspension of Visa Operations

Afghanistan is experiencing an intense third wave of COVID-19 cases throughout the country.  The United States stands in solidarity with the Afghan government and the Ministry of Public Health as they work to take action to contain the spread and care for those who fall ill. We are saddened to hear of the deaths of esteemed and much valued Afghans who have passed away from COVID recently.  We also grieve the passing of one of our own Embassy colleagues.

The United States government will continue to support efforts to prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19 here in Afghanistan and globally.  In the past year, USAID has provided more than $39 million to directly to help Afghanistan respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, expedited $90 million in other COVID-related development assistance through the World Bank, and reoriented other U.S. assistance to support Afghan efforts to deal with the pandemic’s consequences.  U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently announced more than $266 million in new humanitarian assistance to address the pressing needs of an estimated 18 million Afghans who are suffering due to COVID-19, hunger, and displacement, bringing total U.S. humanitarian aid for Afghanistan to nearly $3.9 billion since 2002.  The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration has made available an additional $8.3 million in COVID response.  Earlier this year, the United States provided through USAID $2 billion to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment as part of the $4 billion contribution announced by President Biden.  In addition, the White House recently unveiled the U.S. strategy for global vaccine sharing with an initial allocation of 25 million doses, of which Afghanistan will be one of the recipient countries.  Following the U.S. government’s $3.5 billion emergency investment in the Global Fund to fight COVID-19, Afghanistan is eligible to receive at least $16 million. USAID is investing $3.7 million to train clinicians to manage severe cases in the five hardest hit urban cities, to donate essential consumables for mechanical ventilation, and to deliver technical assistance for vaccine deployment.  USAID also plans to invest an additional $3 million to install oxygen plants in four hospitals that will serve smaller facilities in the surrounding area.

In response to the current outbreak, effective June 13 the Embassy’s Consular Section is suspending all visa operations. Those scheduled for appointments in the coming days will be contacted directly to reschedule as soon as visa operations resume. Applicants do not need to contact the Embassy to reschedule and should not come to the Embassy. We acknowledge and regret the inconvenience to applicants as we seek to protect the health of our staff and applicants to ensure we can fully support visa and other consular services going forward.