Budget for Afghanistan aid revised down by over $1 billion

File photo.

The United Nations and humanitarian agencies have revised this year’s budget for Afghanistan’s aid plan to $3.2 billion, down from $4.6 billion on the back of the “complex environment” and the “constrained operational capacity of partners”.

In a statement issued by the UN humanitarian office (OCHA) on Monday, the organization said: “The recent bans on Afghan women working for… NGOs and the UN have added yet another layer of complexity to what is already an incredibly challenging protection environment, and further constrained the operational capacity of partners.”

The UN said in response to the changing operating context, the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) was revised in May to reassess planning assumptions and adjust the response accordingly.

This HRP revision outlines the prioritization of unmet needs for the remaining seven months of 2023 and presents a strategic shift in response approaches and delivery methods to operate effectively within the current operating space, the statement read.

Afghanistan remains one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, the statement added, with more than two-thirds of the population in need of humanitarian assistance. In December, the Taliban imposed a ban on women working for NGO’s and in April, the Taliban banned local women from working for the UN.

On Monday, UN Women said in a statement that the impact of the ban continues to be on organizations’ ability to engage with women and girls. Dialogues with women at community level, accountability and feedback activities, together with monitoring of assistance are the most impacted, while distributions of cash and food continue to move forward, together with exempted activities, including health services.

“Protection activities and services for women survivors of violence continue to suffer from the ban,” UN Women stated.

The OCHA statement meanwhile noted that in light of the worsening situation, the estimated number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has increased to 28.8 million, up from 28.3 million at the beginning of 2023.

Between June to December 2023, humanitarian partners require $2.26 billion to deliver prioritized multi-sectoral assistance to 20 million people, the UN said.

This comes after a number of humanitarian officials and diplomats have warned of a potential decline in funding to the country due to the Taliban’s restrictions on female workers and the rise in crises in other countries.