EU announces 1-bn-euro aid package for Afghanistan

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 The EU on Tuesday pledged a one-billion-euro ($1.2-billion) aid package for Afghanistan, “to avert a major humanitarian and socio-economic collapse,” the bloc s chief Ursula von der Leyen said.

The money adds 250 million euros to a 300-million-euro sum the EU previously announced for urgent humanitarian needs, with the remainder going to Afghanistan s neighbouring countries taking in Afghans fleeing Taliban rule, a statement said.

Von der Leyen made the pledge at a virtual G20 summit hosted by Italy dedicated to discussing the humanitarian and security situation in Afghanistan.

Her statement stressed that the EU funds are “direct support” for Afghans and would be channelled to international organisations working on the ground, not to the Taliban s interim government which Brussels does not recognise.

EU development aid — different from humanitarian aid — remains frozen.

“We must do all we can to avert a major humanitarian and socioeconomic collapse in Afghanistan. We need to do it fast,” von der Leyen said, observing that winter was approaching.

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