EU releases € 140 million frozen funds for Afghanistan

KABUL (Khaama Press): The EU is allocating €140 million ($150 million) in aid to Afghanistan, focusing on women and girls, following assurance of their direct benefit from the funding.

These funds will be channelled through Afghan government agencies, international financial institutions such as the World Bank, and non-governmental organizations to provide essential support.

The European Union’s assistance, equivalent to approximately $150 million, will address issues like poverty, economic recovery, education, and the economic empowerment of Afghan women.

Since the Taliban’s resurgence in 2021, they have enforced severe restrictions on women, excluding them from public life.

In December 2022, the European Union froze these funds in response to a Taliban directive that instructed national and international organizations to halt women’s employment.

Following six months of monitoring, the European Commission has chosen to release the funds, as it has confirmed that the aid is indeed reaching Afghan girls and women.

In February, the European Union reached a consensus to ensure that aid would be directed exclusively to sectors and regions where women can actively participate in its delivery or reap the benefits.

In July, the United Nations mission in Afghanistan reported that a staggering 24.4 million people need humanitarian assistance.

The EU aims to address essential needs, such as access to safe drinking water, and support the return of Afghan refugees from neighbouring nations with the allocated 140 million euros.

This funding is part of the EU’s one billion-euro aid package, of which 980 million euros have already been activated.

The UN has noted that the Taliban authorities are developing NGO guidelines following their ban announcement.

Specific aid organizations have resumed operations in provinces by securing interim agreements with local Taliban authorities, permitting women staff, especially in healthcare, to continue their work.