Ursula von der Leyen, the EU’s top diplomat, committed on Wednesday to increase humanitarian help to Afghanistan, saying the 27-nation bloc is “by the Afghan people.”
In her annual State of the European Union address, European Commission President von der Leyen said, “We must do everything we can to avoid the genuine risk of a severe famine and humanitarian calamity.”
“We will do our part,” she said, adding that “humanitarian aid to Afghanistan will be increased by 100 million euros.”
The latest pledge comes as the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, increased humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to 200 million euros ($236 million) this year, as the country fights to avoid collapse following the Taliban’s takeover.
Brussels has stated that no aid will be given to Afghanistan’s new leadership, and has asked that the Taliban allow humanitarian workers access to the nation.
In the coming weeks, Von der Leyen said the EU would lay out its “new, broader Afghan support package” in detail.
The EU is concerned that a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan could trigger a major influx of migrants into the bloc, similar to the migration crisis that erupted in 2015 as a result of the Syrian war.
Protecting human rights, enabling people to leave the country, and building an inclusive administration are among the conditions the bloc has set for increased direct contact with the Taliban.
On Monday, an international donor summit in Geneva resulted in offers of $1.2 billion in help for Afghanistan, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pleading that the people “need a lifeline.”