Winter is coming and with it are bound to come a host of problems for countries like Afghanistan, which are already in the throes of poverty. Last winter saw a malnutrition crisis in Afghanistan, with many Afghans on the brink of starvation, and reports of parents selling their children, or killing their families to spare them death from starvation. In lieu of this, and amidst international pressure, the United States on Tuesday announced a new contribution of more than $308 million in humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan. This brings the total US humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and for Afghan refugees in the region to nearly $782 million since October 2021.

On paper, this looks like a generous move. With this aid, the US retains its position as the single largest donor of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, as it should considering the presence the US has held in the region for the last twenty years. However, we must also remember that the US’s earlier decisions have also played a role in the situation that Afghanistan finds itself in today. The US administration’s decision to freeze the country’s assets is what spearheaded a nationwide crisis, and its stubbornness in sticking to this is playing an instrumental role in keeping Afghans poor. Until this matter is not resolved, there is only so much that aid can do.

Just announcements of aid rarely solve the problem. There needs to be transparency in following up on how such aid shall be distributed, especially considering there has hardly been any conducive dialogue between the Taliban government and the international community. The US Treasury Department sent $3.5 billion of Afghanistan’s money to a fund that will be managed by the Swiss government but we are yet to see how or when access will be given. In the midst of this tussle between the west and the Taliban, the millions suffering, being displaced and dying must not be forgotten.