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 Home > News & Policies > October 2001

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 4, 2001

U.S. Assistance to the Afghan People
Fact Sheet

After 22 years of war, three years of severe drought, and five years of Taliban rule, Afghanistan now faces a major famine.  The U.N. Security Council has pointed to the Taliban's repressive policies and harassment of expatriate relief agency workers as being directly responsible for the current crisis.

Because of the Taliban, the world is likely to see death and starvation on a massive scale as Afghanistan enters the coming winter.  Islam promotes charity, yet the Taliban has cut off humanitarian assistance to the Afghan population.

As President Bush announced today, the United States is prepared to contribute an additional $320 million in humanitarian assistance for the Afghanistan and neighboring states suffering from drought.  The total includes $25 million authorized on September 28 by the President from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to provide assistance to a potentially large number of refugees who could cross from Afghanistan into the surrounding countries, including Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.  Additional assistance totaling $295 million will be provided through United Nations assistance agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, nongovernmental organizations, and through direct provision of food and relief supplies.

The United States has led the international community's response to the suffering of the Afghan people.

The United States has contributed more than $1 billion in humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people since 1979, more than any other country.

Since the beginning of fiscal year 2001, the United States provided nearly $184 million in humanitarian aid to Afghans.  This amount includes contributions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture ($99.8 million), the U.S. Agency for International Development ($50.55 million), the Department of State ($32.6 million); and the Centers for Disease Control ($569,000).

The United States has supplied more than 80 percent of all food shipments sent to vulnerable Afghans through the United Nations' World Food Program, and will continue to be the leading food donor to the Afghan people.